People & VIPs
With clarity to success
She has lived and worked on different continents and is currently establishing herself with Carfellows in a male-dominated industry: Nina Geiss, CEO and co-founder of the Berlin start-up. In an interview with Style PASS online, she smiles about being the only woman on the podium at an automobile congress soon. We talked to her about being a woman and her career, current trends in car buying and what she thinks about women's soccer?
Style PASS online: Short and sweet - what is Car Fellows about?
Nina Geiss: Our claim is "Online Cars for Online People", we sell new cars online. Anyone can buy a new car in a few clicks and we deliver it to your door - so you don't need to go to a car dealership anymore. Our advisors give advice by telephone. We serve the usual common car brands.
Style PASS online: So you rely on detailed advice - what role does price play?
We negotiate very well with the dealers and can therefore offer good prices. The prices are now very easy for customers to compare via the Internet and are transparent. In this respect it is easy for everyone to understand that we can offer good prices.
Style PASS online: Do (young) women pay attention to different things when buying a car than men?
There are of course the usual clichés that women pay particular attention to colour, which is not true. However, we have a clear tendency towards men as customers on our site. We are working to attract more women. We do know, however, that when it comes to "technology", women consult male confidants. Ultimately, whether man or woman, that should be the issue: Which car suits me? As a woman, I must also say that I have definitely not had such great experiences with male car salesmen in car dealerships. So we want to address our female customers seriously and advise them well so that they make the right purchase decision.
Style PASS online: Can you explain this in more detail?
We explain a lot. Men sometimes pretend to know everything about technology, even if they don't and they also lack important information. We don't go into the usual clichés, but we do listen to our customers. We simply explain a lot.
Style PASS online: Differences between men and women in buying preferences?
That also depends on the country. In China, for example, sports cars, high-end cars like the Porsche 911 are also bought a lot by women, in Germany women tend to opt for the van. Thanks to MeToo, a lot is also happening in the area of "buying a car". A lot is happening right now.
Style PASS online: "Generation Praktikum" is what our media company called the younger generation a few years ago. Young people today are well educated, do internships all over the world or work internationally. How important is the "own car" in this context? Or do "miles and more" and "car sharing" count more?
I experience the younger generation as very motivated and with a great need to shape the world in a sustainable and positive way. I think that's really great! We have an infinite variety in the field of "mobility": buying a car, renting a car, car sharing, public transport, bus, train and walking are all available *laughs*. To stay with Germany: In the smaller towns and villages the own car will still be important. However, the "car as a status symbol" is declining in the younger generation, the car is now seen more as an "adventure possible maker".
Style PASS online: Today, young people show their socio-political colours, e.g. within "Friday for Future". How do you see ecology in relation to mobility/the decision to buy a car?
Sustainability also affects mobility, and we are in the middle of an energy revolution. For the younger generation, ecology, their own CO2 footprint, is a bigger issue than in the older generation. The sale of electric cars is increasing, also due to subsidies - I personally think that's very good! Of course this is a way to go, because electric cars also have advantages and disadvantages in terms of battery production and disposal. I assume that the aspect "sustainability" will become more and more important.
Style PASS online: What trends in the field of "mobility" do you see for the next few years?
The automotive industry has an incredible amount of work to do, including the steel industry, but as I said, the automotive industry, as we experience in our discussions, has a firm focus on the aspect of "sustainability". The diesel has never been as clean as it is today, e.g. This is exciting to watch. But change also causes fear. Change also means that you "have to change" - we want to accompany this. Germany must be careful not to miss the boat.
Style PASS online: You are a woman and successful in your job. In your career, did you have the feeling that as a woman it was harder or easier than your male competitors?
When I look back on my career, I think of conventions. It was always clear: if you want to be successful as a woman, you have to perform. Of course it is not easy to succeed in a male-dominated field, especially when it comes to older men. Dare to contradict is a topic I had to learn. Of course, I have also reached my limits or had to deal with "MeToo" questions. I often thought: If you had been more cheeky! The good answers only come to mind later. What helps me: My network of supportive men and women I can count on - and vice versa.
Style PASS online: Do you have any tips for young, ambitious women who want to make a career start?
I think it's important for you to find out for yourself: "What type am I?", and not to orientate yourself towards clichés like "You have to be particularly assertive as a woman or you have to be particularly sweet as a woman! My network and the open and critical exchange with other women is important to me. But you grow into it. At the age of 20 you are certainly not a perfect manager. You should develop your own "style" in order to be at peace with yourself, and the rule of thumb "Treat others only as you would like to be treated yourself" is important to me.
Style PASS online: Are you interested in women's soccer?
I have a godchild who started playing women's soccer as a competitive sport when she was 15. Therefore I know the high level of performance in the sport and I find the salary gap between men and women unfair. But I know a lot of people in my environment who really enjoy watching women's soccer and I think it's great that the sport is moving forward.
Style PASS online: One last question: In a video you are compared with an apple strudel and a tiger. Could you explain how that works together?
As a woman you should already show edge, but I can also be very nice and understanding. But if I don't like something, I just say so very clearly! The picture shows the different facets of my character.
Thank you very much for the interview!