JAMIE LaREAU

Why more women are willing to haggle with dealers

Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
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Car dealers who believe that men like to haggle and women don’t had better think again.

A new study suggests that women are more keen than men to negotiate -- a reversal from just a couple of years ago.

Swapalease.com, an online car lease marketplace, recently surveyed more than 1,000 drivers across the country about car purchase or lease negotiations.

Among the findings, more women than men said they prefer to negotiate when buying or leasing a vehicle.

Personally, I loathe haggling. And many car dealers have told me that their female customers also despise the practice. Yet, a third of the women surveyed said negotiation “makes it a fun process” compared with just a quarter of male respondents.

This is a shift from results of a 2012 Swapalease.com survey that asked about consumer comfort with negotiating, spokesman John Sternal said. At that time, 22 percent of women and 30 percent of men said they were comfortable with negotiating. So a bigger share of women seems to have embraced haggling while men’s enthusiasm for it appears to have declined in the past two years.

One reason for the shift, Sternal said, could be that women are more willing to research vehicle purchases online and feel better prepared to negotiate.

“A lot of this comes down to all the information and ability to research online available to women,” Sternal said. “I know that my wife does a heck of a lot more research online when she’s going to buy something than I do. And having that knowledge translates to confidence.”

Indeed, more than half of respondents of both genders -- 61 percent of men and 54 percent of women -- prepare for battle with a lot of research on their intended purchase.

But a significant portion of both genders don’t really like haggling. About 23 percent of men and 18 percent of women said they “have learned to do it, but really don’t like it.”

About 81 percent of men and 64 percent of women surveyed said they want to knock $2,000 or more off the sticker price.

So who comes out ahead in negotiations? About a third of men and a third of women surveyed said they “feel like the dealer will always win.”

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com. -- Follow Jamie on Twitter

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