The automotive industry is a major industrial and economic force worldwide. Manufacturing close to 60 million cars and trucks a year, it is responsible for almost half the world’s consumption of oil. The industry employs four million people directly, and many more indirectly. The automotive industry provides well-paying jobs with good benefits, has heavy linkages with supplier industries and has a strong political influence. Of those four million employees, only 17 percent are female. Close to 400 of these women gathered at the Inaugural Women in Automotive Conference, August 19-20 in Orlando, Florida. Colors on Parade played an active role in this event and is excited to be part of such an important movement in the automotive industry. As the industry culture changes, women will play a much more active role in decision making and purchasing. Due to the strong influence in the U.S. economy and political atmosphere, participants in this conference are actively leading female employees into a new era of the automotive industry. These 400 women included new and experienced automotive professionals. With such a small percentage of current female employees, it is important that these women work together to mentor and support one another.
Claire Garstka, VP, Sales and Marketing, and Maureen Sander, Area Developer – Sarasota/Ft.Myers, FL, represented Colors on Parade at the Woman in Automotive Conference. Colors on Parade was the only mobile reconditioning vendor in attendance. This inaugural event was hosted by the Women’s Automotive Association International (WAAI) and sponsored by industry leaders including: NADA, ASK PATTY.com, AutoNation, TrueCar, ALLY, Cox Automotive, Hendrick Automotive, BASF and many others.
Many of the topics discussed at the event focused on the purchasing power of women and millennials in the automotive industry. Currently, women are responsible for 57 percent of all final purchases on a car lot. By the year 2017, millennials will be making more automotive purchases than any other generation. Both of these groups tend to make purchase decision in less traditional ways – focusing on feelings, relationships, brand value and external representation of their purchases. Automotive dealerships are changing the way they market and are choosing vendors based on the needs and wants of their “newest customer base.” Dealerships are focusing on hiring female friendly staff, open door policies on information, long term relationships and community outreach. Dealerships are also looking for the same focus from vendors. Colors on Parade has stayed on top of these newest trends and is differentiating its approach to meet the needs of the largest players.
It was an honor for Colors on Parade to be invited to participate in such a powerful event. As a member of the Women’s Automotive Association International, Colors on Parade will be able to work closely with these influential women and men through the growth of the Automotive Industry.