15,000 strong, and climbing
They've come a long way, but women could go farther in the auto business. Half the nation's franchised dealerships have at least one saleswoman, and there are nearly 15,000 saleswomen total, according to a National Automobile Dealers Association study. Still, women make up just over 7 percent of the dealership sales force, a figure that has changed little in recent years. Women have been climbing the ladder. Seventy-one percent of the dealerships have at least one female manager, and women have 16 percent of all manager jobs at dealerships around the country. NADA says hiring women makes sense. Women buyers prefer working with saleswomen. And saleswomen are more loyal to the dealership than their male counterparts are.
DOUBLY LUCKY - When John Sanderson, vice president of sales for Siemens Automotive Corp., plunked down $100 for a raffle ticket, he figured it was just a donation for a charity event, the Subway/Joe Dumars Celebrity Tennis Classic, founded by Detroit Pistons basketball star Joe Dumars. That changed when Sanderson won a $60,000 1996 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder donated by Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. Sanderson bought the ticket on behalf of Siemens, which reimbursed him. But rather than give the $100 back to Siemens, Sanderson gave the car back to Dumars' charity, which benefits Children's Hospital of Michigan/Detroit.
YOUR CAR MAY BE EQUIPPED TO GO 90 MPH BUT ... According to The ULS (Use Less Stuff) Report, many of today's urban drivers aren't driving much faster, on average, than those nearly 100 years ago. The newsletter reports that in 1972, the average Los Angeles freeway speed was 60 mph. By 1980, due to crowded roadways, it was 17 mph. Today, drivers average 8 mph in London, 10 mph in New York and 11 mph in Paris. In 1900, horse-drawn carriages navigated those cities' streets at a brisk 8 mph.
PEACE OFFERING - Spy photographers Jim Dunne and Brenda Priddy spend their summer traipsing around the desert Southwest to grab shots of prototype vehicles undergoing hot-weather testing. That doesn't exactly endear them to the engineers driving the prototypes. But Dunne and Priddy don't hold many grudges. Recently, they gladly sat down with a group of German engineers they had been chasing all day and bought drinks. The beer flowed freely, but information from the Germans didn't, according to one participant.
STORM DAMAGE - Automakers released June sales the week of June 30 - the week terrible storms ravaged Detroit. Automotive News headquarters lost power and one sales table - the June top vehicle sellers. In June, the Toyota Camry dropped to sixth place after a three-month run at No. 3.