Women Calling the Shots On Family Car Care

(NUI) - Women are not only becoming more influential in deciding what car to buy, they also are taking over the traditionally male-dominated responsibility of maintenance and repair, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) reports.

Currently, more than 65 percent of customers who take their vehicles to a repair shop for service and repair are women. Some repair industry experts estimate that the average may actually be closer to 80 percent.

"More and more women are deciding where to take their car, minivan, light truck or sport utility for service and repair," says Ronald H. Weiner, ASE president. "As this trend continues, females will represent the majority of customers with whom technicians and service managers must communicate."

While the total number of women in the repair profession is small, the rate of increase over the past few years is noteworthy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of female technicians grew from 9,000 to 11,000 in 1996 - a 22 percent increase, while the number of male technicians increased by only 3 percent during the same period.

ASE, the national nonprofit organization that tests and certifies repair professionals, also has seen an increase in the number of females participating in its testing and certification program. While the number of ASE-certified male technicians has increase by 14 percent in the last two years, the number of certified female technicians has increased by over 50 percent from 1,329 in 1994 to 2,041 in 1996.

"It's inevitable; just as we see more women in the showroom and at the service desk, we will see more women behind the parts counter talking to customers and under the hood diagnosing and repairing automobiles," Weiner says. "Challenging careers as automotive service professionals are not gender-specific. Servicing and repairing today's vehicle requires more brainpower than brawn."

ASE was founded in 1972 to help improve the quality of automotive service and repair though the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. More than 424,000 ASE-certified automobile, truck and collision-repair technicians, engine machinists and parts specialists work in dealerships, independent shops, service stations, auto parts stores, fleets, schools and colleges.

For more information about ASE-certified technicians, write to ASE, 13505 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 2, Herndon, VA 20171-3421; or call (703) 713-3800; or visit the ASE Web site at www.asecert.org.

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