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Survey Finds 77 Percent of Women Car Buyers Continue to Bring Man Along to Dealership; Experts Say Knowledge is a Better Companion

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MCLEAN, Va.--June 1, 2006--As the summer car-buying season kicks-off, Capital One Auto Finance's second Gender Rules of the Road survey of automotive buying habits shows that a significant percentage of women continue to feel disadvantaged in the car-buying process. The national survey of 1,000 female car buyers finds that an astonishing 77 percent of women plan to bring a man along for their next vehicle purchase - a slight increase from the 75 percent who indicated the same in Capital One's 2004 survey.

While 85 percent of women feel that they were treated fairly during their most recent car purchase, the study findings suggest that women are most likely to bring men to make their purchases as a means to better-manage the financial aspects of the transaction. (Nearly seven out of 10 women feel they are at a greater disadvantage then men when it comes to buying a car.) In fact, 70 percent of women continue to find the financial aspects of the car-buying process the most difficult, indicating that their greatest challenge is obtaining a good deal on price.

"It's troubling to see that women still do not feel empowered to manage the car-buying process on their own. It's important that women realize that confidence and purchasing power requires education - not a male companion. Rather than turning to a man for support, women should instead take advantage of the variety of educational resources available to them," said Diana Don Colby, director of financial education at leading financial services company Capital One.

Kelley Blue Book Consumer Advice Editor, Joni Gray, indicates that there is a distinct link between a woman's ability to manage the car-buying process with confidence and her level of knowledge about the financial aspects of the transaction.

"Managing the car-buying process with confidence means doing your homework: Research each element of the transaction before arriving at the dealership. The good news is everything you need to know about car-buying is available online today including dealer invoice pricing and the "New Car Blue Book" value - the price that other people are paying for the same car. But that's just one part of the equation, women also need to shop around for financing - which is also available online," said Gray. "Women have become savvier car-buyers, but they often forget about shopping for financing, which can cost thousands of dollars over the life of the loan."

Indeed, the survey shows that auto loans are often overlooked by women car buyers. When asked to rank aspects of the purchase that they spend the most time researching, auto financing ranked last (4 percent). Further, nearly 18 percent of women report that they will not conduct any research on their vehicle purchase whatsoever.

What Can Women Do To Get The Best Deal?

Education is the key to helping ensure that women get the best possible deal on a car. Kelley Blue Book and Capital One have compiled a set of tips to help give women the knowledge and confidence they need to manage the car-buying process on their own - from choosing the right car to finding the right financing - before arriving at the dealer.

-- Learn about vehicle pricing. Use the Internet to research new and used car prices, including dealer invoice pricing, transaction pricing, and the blue book value of your trade-in. Know what you can afford and use those target numbers as a reference point for your pricing negotiations.

-- Research and compare different financing options. There is a range of auto financing options available, including dealer financing, loans from banks and credit unions, and pre-approved no-obligation online loans. Researching your options and finding the lowest rate that you qualify for can save you a substantial amount of money over the life of your loan.

-- Treat the car-buying process as three separate negotiations. Determining the: 1) vehicle price; 2) trade-in value; and 3) financing are three separate transactions, and you should negotiate each separately. This strategy will often help you save money.

-- Read the final contract carefully. Don't sign a contract until you're confident that everything is correct and is stated as it was explained to you. To help familiarize yourself with the general terms and conditions of the contract, consider picking up a blank copy from your local dealer prior to negotiating the final sale.

-- Stay in control of the process - it's OK to walk away. If it's not the price or deal you want, be ready to walk away. There is another dealer out there who will be willing to accept your price.

Capital One's Don Colby added, "Women who arm themselves with information before they conduct the purchase can be confident and walk into the experience aware of what they want, what they can afford, and how to ask for it - on their own."

Financial Education Help

In an effort to help educate consumers, Capital One offers easy-to-understand consumer education resources on topics such as budgeting, establishing and building credit and protection against identity theft. Educational materials are free and can be accessed at Tips to help consumers in their auto-financing search can also be found at

Survey Methodology

For the Gender Rules of the Road survey, Braun Research was engaged to conduct 1003 interviews with females age 18 or older across the United States. Surveys were conducted by telephone from May 10, 2006 through May 12, 2006. The margin of error for the interview is plus or minus 3.09 percentage points. Interviews were monitored at random.

Sampling for this study was conducted using a national probability sample of all exchanges and area codes across the United States. All interviews were conducted using a computer assisted telephone interviewing system. Statistical weights were designed from United States Census Bureau statistics.

About Capital One

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding company, with more than 316 locations in Texas and Louisiana. Its principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank, Capital One, F.S.B., Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., and Capital One, N.A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had $47.8 billion in deposits and $103.9 billion in managed loans outstanding as of March 31, 2006. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index.

Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., ( is a full-spectrum auto lender which offers a wide-range of auto finance products. Capital One Auto Finance is the nation's third largest independent auto lender as well as the nation's largest direct mail and online vehicle financing provider with serviced outstandings of $19.8 billion. COAF has a nationwide dealer network of over 20,000 dealers while recently becoming the first large-scale vehicle financing company to offer its expertise to banks through its Agent Banking Auto Finance program. Capital One Auto Finance is a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation.