FREMONT (KPIX 5) — Alana Barragan isn’t someone you typically see on the other side of a car purchase. She’s one of only five women at AutoNation Honda in Fremont, compared to over thirty men.
She got her job when she walked in as a customer nine months ago and then walked out because of a pushy car salesman.
“We didn’t like the experience, so basically we said no, my partner and I were like we’re not interested, no thank you,” Barragan said.
She and her partner stood their ground, even when a manager tried to convince them not to go anywhere else.
“He said ‘okay well if I can’t sell you a car how about if I give you a job?’” she recounted.
AutoNation, the largest car dealership group in the country says it’s working on hiring more women as the industry admits, it’s losing profits because of the lack of females selling cars.
Anita Bandu says she felt Barragan could relate to her when she came to her about buying a car for her daughter:
“It was really helpful, you know, that she could see from a woman’s perspective,” Bandu said.
Women make up 19 percent of the salesforce in the car industry, according to the most recent numbers, but nearly 90 percent of them leave every year.
AutoNation says it’s hoping to attract and retain its female employees, especially working moms, by offering fewer hours and a salary.
“I think the industry is changing and I like that I can help people,” Barragan said.
Nine months after walking out of AutoNation Honda, she’s now selling double the cars set for sales associates each month.
“I think the customers notice that there’s more women working and they see that and hopefully it’ll inspire more women to get into the industry,” Barragan said.
AutoNation says the number of women running their dealerships has increased to 7 percent from 4 percent in 2012, and the female associate service numbers have doubled to more than 300.