Car Dealers Have Real Problem With Sexist, ‘Testosterone-Charged’ Culture

The National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual workforce study has yet to be released, but it reportedly has highlighted an alarming trend in the automotive industry.

The NADA has found that women are underrepresented, and fleeing the industry much quicker compared to male workers, and it is costing dealers a lot of money, according to Automotive News, which has seen the survey’s results. What’s more, ESI Trends, which conducted the NADA’s study, suggests that a lingering culture of sexism is to blame.

In 2016, dealers in the United States saw a turnover rate of 46 percent among all female employees, and 96 percent among female sales representatives — compared to 41 and 71 percent, respectively, among males. ESI Trends president Ted Kraybill, for perspective, claims turnover represent an $8 billion problem for the industry as a whole, and costs dealers an average of roughly $20,000 every time a sales position is vacated.

“There will be no real progress as long as the majority turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the macho, testosterone-charged sales culture that disrespects women customers and co-workers,” Kraybill told Automotive News.

A separate Automotive News survey revealed just how toxic the environment can be, with 65 percent of women at new-vehicle dealers reporting they have experienced unwanted sexual advances, and 45 percent claiming they have missed out on opportunities for advancement because of their gender.

To prevent that type of behavior from permeating their dealership, Jeff and John Morrill, owners of Planet Subaru in Hanover, Mass., have tried to hire an equal number of men and women. Although they admit their workforce isn’t an entirely even split, females make up 30.3 percent of their staff, and 35.5 percent of their sales consultants.

“This is an industry where men still occupy nearly all the positions of power,” Jeff Morrill said. “So until there are more women in those positions of power, it’s really incumbent on the men to bring more women into the business so those women can be part of the decision-making in the future.”

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