Tips for Women on How to Buy a Car

how to buy a car as a womanWhat has been your experience buying a car as a woman — and what shared wisdom can you impart to other women just setting out to buy a car? If you went to the dealership with a male significant other or friend, did the salesperson mostly speak with him while ignoring you? Did you feel like the salesperson was being condescending? Did the salesperson assume you didn’t know anything about cars (whether or not that’s true)? And if it is the the case (no judgment from this non–car expert!), did you feel like you were taken advantage of as a customer? Or, did you feel you weren’t treated differently as a woman, and everything went great?

With the 2018 car models now available in showrooms — and because the next two months are an excellent time to buy a car — we thought it’d be a great time to discuss how to buy a car. We haven’t had a lot of posts about car-buying (there have been many good discussions in threadjacks), although we’ve previously talked about the issue of whether to buy a fancy car to impress clients and, on our blog for working moms, we’ve talked about how to choose the best family car for you (Swagger Wagon, anyone?).

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Do You Have to Buy a Fancy Car to Impress Clients?

do you have to buy a fancy car to impress clients2017 Update: We still think this is a fascinating discussion on the question of whether you need to buy a fancy car to impress clients — but you may also want to check out our more recent discussions of how to buy a car as a single woman and (on our blog for working moms) how to choose the best family car for you.

What kind of car should the overachieving chick drive?  Do you HAVE to buy a fancy car to impress clients? On the one hand, a luxury car could impress clients and colleagues… but on the other hand, it can also convey that you’re “not working for the money.”  Reader K wonders:

I’m graduating from law school next month and I’ll be starting at a large regional firm in the Fall. For the past 11 years, I’ve been driving an old 2-door Honda. It was a great car for commuting to law school, but I’m definitely ready for an upgrade. My husband and I have talked about buying a new car and he really wants a higher-end sedan (audi, lexus, acura). I would love a luxury car, but I would be equally happy with something more modest. I’m worried that if I pull up in an expensive new car on my first day at the firm, my colleagues will assume that 1. I don’t really need to work (untrue) or 2. I’m materialistic and fiscally irresponsible (also untrue). My husband and I are in our 30’s, we’ve both worked and saved for quite a few years, and I have a small amount of law school debt, so it’s within our reach to upgrade.

Am I worrying about nothing or should I consider my colleagues’ perception when deciding what type of car to purchase?

This should be a fun one — I’m already seeing shades of our engagement ring discussion, as well as our intern-with-the-Birkin discussion.  I should say upfront that I’ve been living and working in NYC for about 15 years now, and cars just don’t matter that much here. (Pictured: Devan’s Pimped-Out Ride 3, originally uploaded to Flickr by Jennerally.)

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