“I was very nervous when my dad decided to put me at our BMW store,” recalled Kelly Suntrup Stumpe, aka The Car Mom. “I was 22 years old; I had never sold a car, and yet I’m now selling $80,000 5 Series cars to people two or three times my age.”
An Uphill Battle
Stumpe, the St. Louis native and founding father of The Car Mom, stands at a crucial intersection between the automotive enterprise and ladies. Today, there’s a vital cultural motion to acknowledge girls in automotive (and lots of different industries) for his or her contributions. Likewise, there’s extra acknowledgment as we speak that females are the highest auto-buying demographic. On the trade aspect, Stumpe can encourage girls who want to pursue an automotive profession. On the patron aspect, her expertise and character decrease the reservations individuals have, particularly girls, about setting foot in a dealership.
From an trade perspective, the street remains to be undeniably onerous for ladies in automotive. According to Automotive News and Deloitte analysis, girls account for solely 27 % of the U.S. auto manufacturing workforce. In a survey performed by each organizations in October 2018 known as Women on the Wheel, only one % mentioned automotive was one of the best trade for females. Only 14 % mentioned they might encourage feminine relations and buddies to pursue an automotive profession. Meanwhile, 74 % of feminine respondents mentioned they’ve totally different efficiency requirements versus their male colleagues.
“Being a woman, being young, and being the owner’s daughter meant having all of these added expectations on me when I started selling cars,” Stumpe mentioned. “I felt like I got tested a lot, especially early on.”
The added expectations and elevated stress got here as Stumpe is now the third era of the Suntrup Automotive Group household, based mostly in St. Louis, Missouri. “My Grandpa and his brother started it in 1957, and then my dad and his brother really grew it into a multi-franchise organization,” she defined. “When I first entered the car business in 2016, everybody thought I would know so much about it because I had grown up in it. In reality, I didn’t know much about car buying because I had never seen the process actually happen.”
Walking The Walk
After graduating from William Woods University with a level in Equestrian Sciences, she returned to the household enterprise and the BMW franchise specifically. Although it could not have appeared prefer it to outsiders, the dealership was a unique world for Stumpe. Her studying curve comprised two uniquely totally different however equally essential and difficult areas. One was studying the dealership’s day-to-day operations and interior workings, from gross sales and repair to components and equipment. The second was getting acclimated to the BMW product line, a troublesome process for any automotive skilled, not to mention any person new to the enterprise.
Luxury manufacturers like BMW differ in that they’ve in depth lineups, many intricate tech options, and a number of the most superior engineering with regard to automobile platforms and powertrains. BMW’s terminology could be significantly overwhelming, particularly when seeing it for the primary time. Phrases and descriptors like “TwinPower turbocharging technology,” “VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing,” and “double-VANOS variable camshaft timing” are all frequent BMW lingo. Add to that BMW’s M lineup, the place there are quite a few choices and packages, and it presents one other problem fully. In quick, BMW just isn’t a straightforward product lineup to be taught.
“People would come in very well-researched, some with their leases even calculated by hand. I learned quickly that BMW buyers are experienced buyers,” Stumpe recalled. “So I pushed myself to learn everything about BMWs and then everything about the car buying process. I took every opportunity I could to learn.”
Car Deals & Chicken Nuggets
As Stumpe discovered her footing, she started making a be aware of the shortcomings within the gross sales course of. One of probably the most vital is how irritating automotive shopping for could be, particularly for ladies. While Stumpe was certainly a welcome face for automotive patrons at house in St. Louis, she started to consider methods to broaden on what she noticed to a bigger viewers. Stumpe needed to bridge the hole between dealerships and customers whereas retaining her identification as an actual individual with children and a household.
“The more I was talking about cars, the more I was sharing my family life,” Stumpe mentioned. “I am very realistic; my house is messy, and my kids sometimes eat chicken nuggets for dinner, but I am doing my best. People resonated with that, women especially. So I set out to share more about my entrepreneurial journey, but that journey also involves my family.”
The Car Mom
The fruits of all this impressed Stumpe to launch The Car Mom platform in early 2020, simply as COVID-19 lockdowns had been beginning to be carried out nationwide. Stumpe was pregnant along with her daughter Hattie on the time whereas her son George was simply 9 months.
“I didn’t even feel comfortable taking my nine-month-old baby to the grocery store; how are women supposed to take their toddler to car dealerships,” Stumpe continued. “These poor women, or these poor families, are forced to take their kids to a dealership in a pandemic, give some sales guy their license, meet the manager, get pressured into a lease, all to find out their strollers and car seats really don’t fit in that SUV the way they thought.”
Stumpe hit the bottom operating with The Car Mom, which has logged over 400,000 followers on Instagram as of this writing. “I thought, what if I could just give moms a first look at a new vehicle, and what if I could save them four or five hours at the dealership,” she mentioned. “That’s something I would want to do.”
As a working mother herself, Stumpe places her focus and power into real-world opinions and car-buying ideas. Her YouTube channel options complete overviews of the most recent autos, together with EVs, hybrids, and three-row SUVs. Stumpe additionally has movies that cowl prolonged service contracts and the most recent in-vehicle tech options. We additionally see Stumpe’s humor and charm in movies like A Day within the Life of The Car Mom, the place she reveals her love for espresso, chocolate, and Diet Coke (fountain Diet Coke that’s).
“As I give these first looks at different vehicles, I always want to keep women and families entertained and just speak their language,” Stumpe mentioned. “I am very passionate about the family aspect, and in many ways, I strive to be the average person’s car reviewer.”
The Carpool Podcast
In addition to her Instagram web page and YouTube channel, Stumpe hosts The Carpool Podcast alongside her enterprise associate and sister, Lizz Suntrup. Behind the microphones, the duo goes past the concept of an ordinary automotive podcast to supply a mind break for working moms. “In every episode, we will talk a little bit about the auto industry, but we mostly take listeners along as we navigate marriage, motherhood, and life as sisters, entrepreneurs, and best friends,” Stumpe mentioned.
Lasting Impact of The Car Mom
As an automotive platform, The Car Mom is comparatively new, however Stumpe’s speedy progress in followers and followers proves her distinctive fashion and signature are tremendously wanted. Historically, automotive has been a male-driven enterprise not readily accessible to girls, however that’s altering as we speak. More girls now occupy government roles, and producers higher perceive how influential girls are within the car-buying course of.
As The Car Mom, Stumpe is uniquely (if not remarkably) positioned to serve either side of this crucial equation. More like her are wanted. And that’s the reason I like her work.
“Moms resonate with me, they see what I am doing, and I hope to bring that to the rest of the automotive world,” Stumpe mentioned. “That’s a goal I have now, and I would like to continue to get the attention of the automotive world.”
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of administrators for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a previous president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.