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      See Steve's exclusive Gumball Rally video from NBC-TV's Whipnotic website (copy and paste): Over 120 gas-guzzling super-exotic sports cars, Hummers, Cadillac Escalade SUVs and an occasional interesting older car roared on May 2, 2009, from a California beach-side parking lot directly onto I-10, the Santa Monica Freeway, also known as the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway, for the start of this year's Gumball Rally. The world's most politically-incorrect automotive street event, the Gumball Rally 3000, left Santa Monica (CA) Pier on Saturday, May 2, 2009 and headed toward its ultimate destination of Miami, FL eight days later. Participants reportedly paid $44,000 per car/team to enter the event. Though the Gumball stresses the skills of its drivers (and their cars) there are only two race track "special section" stops scheduled for the 3,000-mile long event, which will be run on public roads with all entrants subject to all highway rules and regulations. All photos (c) 2009 by

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    August 11, 2006


    steve parker

    Thanks for the info on the problems which still exist at dealerships when it comes to women and ALL minorities. More important and less-discussed are the higher interest rates normally charged women and minorities which can add up to THOUSANDS of dollars over the life of a vehicle loan.

    AskPatty - Automotive Advice for Women

    Recent results from surveys conducted by CARMAX and Capital One Auto Finance, concluded that women continue to be unsatisfied with their car buying experiences. The fact that 80% of all car buying decisions are influenced by women and 50% of all new car purchases are made by women, suggests that the market for women buyers represented $80 billion dollars of new car sales, reported in 2005, (source NADA data). These numbers are rather disturbing considering that women are still buying 50% of the automobiles, yet their car buying experiences have not improved according to these recent surveys.

    It appears dealerships are definitely selling cars to women; The question is, will they “be back” to the same dealership for their next car purchase as a loyal happy customer?

    Here are some of the strategies emerging from dealerships to improve customer satisfaction scores from women consumers

    *Recruiting, hiring and training additional female sales and service advisors.
    *Holding workshops and clinics for women to educate women on car care, financing, service and maintenance.
    *Giving flowers, gift baskets and spa treatments to women as thank you gifts for new car purchases.

    To take the word ‘traumatic” entirely out of women’s comments about their car buying experiences, dealerships need to listen to what women want and need and learn create a way to make buying a car as pleasant and rewarding as their other retail shopping experiences.

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