Continental- Ladies Car Care Clinics PDF Print E-mail

By Jil McIntosh  – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Continental Tire Ladies Car Care Clinics
Women Helping Women to Understand Their Cars
There is no question: an informed consumer is always the best consumer. That’s the thinking behind Continental Tire’s Ladies Car Care Clinics, which give women the opportunity to learn about how their cars work and what maintenance their vehicles can require. The clinics are taught by former race car driver Kelly Williams, spokesperson for the Be Car Care Aware Team of AIA Canada.

"The percentage of female drivers rose from four percent in 1972 to 49 percent in 1996,” says Guy Hardiman, General Market manager for Continental Tire Canada. “Statistics Canada says that 65 percent of women currently take their own vehicles to a repair shop for service, and some sources say it may be as high as 80 percent. So we’ve got women driving half the cars on the road, and possibly as many as 80 percent of them are bringing their cars in themselves for service. I don’t see anybody taking care of those women drivers. That’s why we teamed up with AIA and Kelly Williams to offer these clinics, which are 100 percent for women.”
Plans for expansion
Continental held its first clinic in October 2007, and has held twenty since then, through O.K. Tire stores. While the clinics have been held so far in stores in Ontario and British Columbia, the tire manufacturer plans to expand to other areas, starting with Quebec, where French-speaking racecar driver Valérie Limoges will tutor the class.
The clinics are free for attendees and are held after shop hours. While some women are already customers of the tire shop, more come in through advertisements placed in local newspapers, which gives the shop a prime opportunity to expand its client base.
All aspects of maintenance
Williams teaches all aspects of vehicle maintenance, including how the car works, why maintenance is important, and various aspects of tire know-how, including proper inflation, the value of alignment and rotation, and how to check for wear. 

 Having a woman teach other women is important, Hardiman says, because it helps the attendees feel at ease. “The point is in creating an atmosphere that is comfortable, and I believe that entails a woman instructor,” he says. “Women are more inclined to listen to them, and women are more involved with detail by nature. They’re more thorough, which describes Kelly as an instructor.”
Favourable feedback
Feedback from both attendees and tire shops has been extremely favourable. “The advantage to the dealer is that it attracts new clientele, and one that typically would not visit a tire centre,” Hardiman says. “These customers are now more informed to make quicker decisions, and the right decision, when it comes to maintaining their vehicles.
“It’s better to explain the frequency and importance of an oil change, for example, than just to tell a customer that she needs one. And if they are now checking their tires regularly, and know the importance of proper inflation, they’ll be receiving better fuel economy and fewer CO2 gases in the environment, which is an informed decision that can affect our environment. That’s very important to women.
“The dealer has a new base of clientele that they may not have known existed. Those women are now informed customers, and that results in a clientele that becomes loyal to that dealership. It’s a win/win situation for everybody.”