Car buying can be an incredibly exciting AND stressful experience. It’s a huge investment and a costly one at that. The dealership itself can be overwhelming when sales tactics feel pushy, and you don’t understand the terminology being thrown around. Now add in the general discomfort and judgment members of the LGBTQ+ community already encounter daily, and what should be an exciting experience can quickly take a negative turn. Fortunately, we’ve compiled some tips and insights to help alleviate some of the frustration and discomfort that comes from car shopping as an LGBTQ+ couple.
Do Your Research
First, you’ve got to do your research. This is true no matter what your orientation or relationship status is. You always want to walk into a dealership with a general understanding of what you want in a vehicle, as well as what you’re willing to pay for. If you still haven’t settled on a dealership just yet, don’t forget that you can utilize BestRide’s search engine to help guide you to a local dealer you can trust.
Once you’ve narrowed down your desired budget and what features matter most to you in a vehicle, you can start filtering through dealerships and OEMs that fit your criteria and find the ones that have the added benefit of being LGBTQ+ friendly.
Here are a few notable companies to help kickstart your research:
Bear in mind that these are not the ONLY manufacturers with progressive policies regarding LGBTQ+ people. A lot of brands are aiming to be more inclusive with their culture and policies with varying degrees of success. These companies have just been more proactive and vocal in their support of the community. For instance, Toyota and Subaru most recently earned 100% ratings on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices, and benefits pertinent to LGBTQ+ employees.
Find Your Dealership(s)
Once you’ve done your research and you’re confident in your decisions, it’s time to head to the dealership. If this is your very FIRST dealership experience, check out our First Time Buyer’s Guide for tips to navigate the unique hurdles of that situation. Even if you’ve narrowed your search down to a particular OEM and dealership, it’s always good to have a backup list in mind. You may not find the deal or model you want in a single day, but that’s no reason to feel discouraged. Car buying often takes a bit of legwork and perseverance to find your perfect ride. Reading dealership reviews from previous car shoppers will give you an informed idea of which shops will be worth your time AND your money.
It’s more than likely that you and your partner would opt to go through the shopping process together. But if neither of you know much about the process, we recommend bringing a knowledgeable friend with you. If they have been through the dealership and car buying process before, that’s a huge plus. It can also be comforting having someone there who is familiar with your relationship and can be a buffer in otherwise uncomfortable situations.
Remember You Can Walk Away
If there is a single note you take away from this shopping guide, let it be this: there is ALWAYS another dealership. Never sacrifice your comfort, self-respect, or ethics for a vehicle that can almost certainly be found in a different dealership. We guarantee there’s a dealer out there that will treat you with respect while you shop for your car. After your purchase, it’s helpful to leave a review for future shoppers. This will be highly beneficial to other members of the LGBTQ+ community that are heading out on their own daunting journey to buy a car. It’ll also let the dealer know if they did a good job or if there’s room for improvement.
Enjoy Your New Ride
Even if the dealership and car manufacturer you chose was on your list of LGBTQ+ friendly companies, individual workers that you interact with may vary from somewhat awkward to outright rude. It could be argued that this is true for ANY given dealership experience, regardless of orientation. However, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I know very well that there is a “regular” level of social awkwardness, and then there is the discomfort that comes from a nearly tangible intolerance.
Buying a new car with your partner is both an exhilarating and challenging ordeal. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, there is an added difficulty of buying their vehicle from an ethical company that aligns with and supports their needs. Just always remember, for every disappointing dealership experience you might have, there is sure to be an establishment out there that has your best ride on the lot AND your best interests in mind.
With these tips, LGBTQ+ couples can find the vehicle they want, and the smooth, enjoyable dealership experience they deserve. Happy searching!