It wasn’t all that long ago that a woman would enter an automobile dealership alone with the intentions of purchasing a vehicle and be told immediately by the salesperson, “Go home and get your father or husband and then come back and we’ll talk to you about buying a car.” Those days are now gone as national statistics state 95 percent of all automobile-buying decisions today are influenced by women. This fact alone has changed the way automobile dealerships conduct business today.
It’s no secret that for years the automobile industry has been known to be a man’s world on both sides of the coin, meaning both the buying and selling ends. As the industry has evolved and women have become more influential, the business itself has become much more professional and the opportunities for satisfying careers have grown immensely. At one time it seemed the only positions available or offered to women were receptionists and administrative. Today, the opportunities for women have expanded, and you will find women working in all facets of the business from ownership, sales management, service management, sales, etc.
Ira Rosenberg of Prime Motor Group recognized a long time ago how beneficial women were to his business. As far back as 1975, he hired his first woman sales manager, which was unheard of back then. After all these years, he is convinced that she still stands out among the best of the managers he has employed.
Prime Motor Group of Saco and Scarborough consist of eight locations and a collision center and currently employ more than 60 women. Ira has been known to recruit women from all over Maine on his daily jaunts, whether he is out to eat at a local establishment, dropping off his dry cleaning, or simply filling his own gas tank at the local Irving station. My own experience with Ira has a similar ring. Six years ago I met him while I was managing a corporate chain restaurant in South Portland. After speaking with him at length, he mentioned how he would love to sit down and talk to me about the opportunities he could offer in his business. Here I am, six years later.
Kathleen Prior-Vaz is the customer relations manager at Prime Motor Group, Saco.