Tamara Warren Is Personalizing The Car Buying Experience For Women
By Lydia T. Blanco
In her own words, Tamara Warren, co-founder and CEO of Le Car will tell you that she is a mother, wife, daughter, writer, businesswoman, and feminist. She likely won’t lead with how she got into the driver’s seat of her life after overcoming adversity. With a recognizable byline in the automotive industry, Warren is known for her unique coverage of women’s buying power and luxury cars. Warren’s reporting spans from The New York Times to Fortune Magazine. At her core, she is Detroit strong and takes pride in educating and empowering women to own their purchasing power in the car industry. Contrary to popular belief, women have been significant contributors to the automotive space and are now considered, “The focus on the industry.”
As a Detroit native, Warren’s introduction to cars came early.
“My father was an automotive engineer, so I was always around car culture. I interned at AutoWeek Magazine to learn the ins and outs of the auto beat. Once I started to test drive all sorts of cars, I found joy and freedom in the work. When I moved to New York City, I found my perspective on the car industry was unique. I’ve gone on to test drive well over 2000 cars and written for over 150 publications. I’ve covered nearly every aspect of the transportation industry, and specialize in car design, new tech, and sustainability,” said Warren.
You Have To Know When To Shift Gears
After spending her formative years as a music journalist, Warren decided to shift gears and began to explore the intersectionality of women and cars. Although she has experienced sexism, misogyny, and bias, she has developed a strong peer network. “I’m still often one of the only women at a car event, which is maddening. We know that women overwhelmingly make car buying and household decisions,” said Warren. She’s right. Women are buying cars at a higher rate than men. In fact, 62 percent of new car purchases in the US are made by women.
“I’m encouraged that a new generation of women is coming up in car culture, but our numbers are far too small, and we lack true diversity and representation. Many women I’ve known who had leadership positions at car companies have left the industry. It’s essential that women stay visible on all sides of the industry because there are real consequences if we are not at the forefront,” said Warren. “More women than men died in automobile accidents last year because we are not part of the research and development process in equal numbers. And yet, we don’t have any major media companies that focus on centering women in car coverage, which is one reason why we started Le Car.”
Taking The Long Way Back Home To Yourself
For many people, having a car of a particular make and model is a status symbol. For others, their car can serve as a safe haven. In Warren’s case, driving for the first time after leaving a domestic violence-riddled relationship was a vehicle towards freedom.
“I was in an abusive marriage in my twenties and stopped driving during that time. Most of the physical violence took place when I was in the passenger seat. I worked up the courage to leave and ultimately chose to press domestic violence charges against my ex-husband,” said Warren. “A writer friend in New York City offered me a place to stay. At my mother’s suggestion, I drove myself across the country to start a new life. When I arrived, I dove into my work and felt a sense of empowerment as my driving skills, confidence, and trust in myself grew. Cars journalism gave me a purpose, an income, and the bonus perk of traveling the world, which was empowering. This creative pursuit helped me to heal from a difficult time in my life.”
Years later, at another intersection, Warren and her mother, Henriette Warren, who at the time was retiring from a two-decade-long career as a social worker in the midwest, decided to go into business together.
“One month after my daughter’s birth, my father died. At the time, I was working as a transportation editor at The Verge, where I did interesting work on the future of mobility. The profound transition in my own life made me rethink my purpose, and how I could use my platform to help other women. At the same time, I noticed how many of my friends complained about how hard it was to research car buying and how to use their vehicles once they owned them. As their go-to source, I developed a car buying quiz to help them make solid decisions. I knew I could make an impact by building a unique platform, so I resigned from my position to build Le Car,” said Warren.
Her mother spent decades in partnership with her late father as a car marketer in the Motor City. “My mom and I always had a tight relationship built on trust, respect, and a shared worldview. Our skill sets complement one another. We developed a business model that wouldn’t reinforce the same problems for women, who feel frustrated and taken advantage of at car dealerships and confused by the myriad of transportation options once they have their cars. We strive toward transparency in our partnerships, and ensure that our paid and free recommendations are unbiased.”
Le Car Is Designed For Women
With expertise on both sides of the industries, the Warren women are committed to ensuring that women can use the LeCar platform to experience an elevated and personalized car buying experience. Now, Warren is proud to share their companies mission. “Le Car stands for the mission that personal mobility should be an empowering inclusive experience. We create content, events, and programming that support our mission.”
“We provide advice for people who are car shopping or exploring alternative forms of mobility. We offer one-on-one calls with our network of journalists to help people choose the best vehicle fit and for general advice on how they use their vehicles,” said Warren. With an emphasis on personalization, She and her team design content for the needs of every woman. “We share stories about the way people use their vehicles for travel, commuting, and as a reflection of their identities. In order to help people make the transition to an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle in the next few years, we try to make our users feel engaged in new ways of thinking about mobility. When it’s time to buy or sell a car, we provide car shopping guidance, easily digestible reviews, and tips on our most-recommended vehicle page. We are building programming into our platform to bring women together to explore the future of mobility.”
Women are leading in ways societally that some are still bracing themselves for. Therefore, when it comes to the car industry and women personalizing their buying experience to their needs, here’s what Warren wants women to know.
“When talking to women about their next vehicle purchase, I suggest they begin to think about their options months before they need to make a car shopping decision, so they have time to choose carefully. They need to understand their wants and needs before they begin to narrow down the options, especially if they are considering an electric vehicle. There are over 260 new models on the market configured in thousands of feature packages. When that number expands to pre-owned vehicles, the possibilities can seem daunting. The Le Car quiz and iOS app can help define the parts of their lifestyle they should consider, like where they’re going and who are the passengers in their cars. We’re here to help people learn more about what works for them, with no judgment or stigma,” said Warren.
Photo Source: Bill Gentle