Believe it or not cars are not something I am all that interested in. Of course I am interested in the marketing and selling of cars, that is how I make my livelihood. Being employed in the car industry means I have to be aware of developments in car manufacturing and It would be remiss of me were I not to reveal to you my love of in car gadgetry and comfort inducing extras but on the whole cars themselves leave me cold.
Now you may justifiably ask how I am able to sell cars to prospective buyers who are enthusiastic about their upcoming purchase and look to me with glassy eyed wonder when they ask me about all the car of their dreams has to offer. How, you may ask, am I able to appear enthusiastic and maintain the air of someone who should, in the customers eyes, be a cross between Jeremy Clarkson and Quentin Wilson with a touch of Richard Hammond thrown in for the ladies?
Well I wouldn’t say it was easy but the clue is in the first paragraph, it’s my livelihood. I am knowledgeable about the models and specifications because it is my job and I am enthusiastic about engines, horse power, road holding and the like because it helps me sell cars.
It wasn’t always the case. I used to love cars. I used to have posters of Porsche 911’s on my wall and I used to spend weekend after weekend making ever more ridiculous modifications to my ever more ridiculous Cortina Mk III. But when cars became the way I made my living I suppose I became a little cynical. I witnessed the quest for market share that became an all consuming battle for car makers first hand and watched as more and more of them joined the fold.
Registrations became more important than sales and it created a false market which culminated in fields full of unsold cars and some manufactures, like Rover and Renault for example, had their residual values destroyed as a consequence.
Then there was the seemingly unstoppable advancement in technology and the inevitable and ever accelerating new model variations. The range topping Ford Escort Ghia from the late seventies would transfer its spec to the entry level model in the eighties and so on.
But I suppose the real reason I am no longer in love with cars is far simpler.
I remember when I was driving in a tired Ford Focus not that long ago and I pulled up at the lights alongside a long wheel base Audi A8 with the passenger travelling in the back. I remember this incident mainly because it was such a hot day and the car I was in didn’t have air con. It had blowers capable of blowing only mildly less hot air on my face than the air outside the car. Of course I had all the windows open whereas my neighbor in the next lane did not.
The back seat passenger had lowered his newspaper for a moment to cast his glance toward the red traffic light, perhaps annoyed that he was being held up by a traffic management system that probably, to be fair, wasn’t designed to delay people as important as he clearly was. As he dropped his newspaper I clearly recollect noticing his hair lightly ruffling in what I imagined to be the beautifully cool wind within his car. I was imagining Vivaldi’s four seasons (probably because it’s the only piece of classical music I know) playing softly in the background whilst I watched him raise a coffee cup to his lips. Not a Starbucks polystyrene container, no a china cup and saucer.
The lights changed and the Audi glided off as I lurched forward and it simply underlined why I no longer cared about cars. If I wasn’t going to be chauffeured around in a car like the LWB Audi A8 then no other car really mattered.
That and viewing every car as a profit opporunity.