A new website’s goal is to drive leads to dealerships while helping them become more friendly to women shoppers.

The initiative, launched in September, has certified 36 dealers as being “female friendly.” It is an outgrowth of AskPatty.com, an online site that provides women with automotive advice.

Various studies indicate women make more than 50% of all car purchases and influence 85% of all buying decisions. Those numbers helped convinced AskPatty President Jody DeVere to create the site.

“We felt there was a need in the marketplace,” she says. “AskPatty is a place women can get advice and dealers can improve the way they market to the female consumer.”

The site includes updated articles on issues pertaining to buying and maintaining vehicles for women. People can submit questions using e-mail or directly to the AskPatty blog, maintained by women automotive experts.

The certified dealer program, designed by consulting firm MaddoxSmye LLC, offers dealers training on how to market and sell to women customers.

Dealerships participating in the program receive multiple copies of the textbook How to Get Rich Selling Cars and Trucks to Women, along with test preparation materials and one year’s support and training.

Prominent dealers such as Germain Honda, Penske Toyota, Crown Automotive Group, Kendall Toyota, Palm Beach Motor Cars, Don Reid Ford and Universal Hyundai-Nissan are certified.

Certified dealers receive a private label co-branded AskPatty website, an auto-reply lead response system, certified-dealer designation on the AskPatty website and a customer-satisfaction follow-up program.

cbanks@wardsauto.com