There are 3 types of people who sell cars. There are those that love cars and everything they stand for i.e. your car selling petrol head. There are those that just see them as bits of metal with £ signs stuck on them and have no emotional attachment to them whatsoever and thirdly there are those that have to admire and believe in what they are selling so are maybe a bit of both.
It must be even harder today seeing that there are so many exciting cars out there with such amazing spec, but today got me thinking: how long before the novelty wears off?
For example my step father freely admits that he loves cars, any cars really and proudly states that he has had more cars than the years he has been alive and by some distance. There was a time when he had as many as 5 in one year! I seem to remember him coming home in Volvo estates, BMW 5 series, Cortina Crusaders, pick-ups of varying sorts, caravanettes and I remember he even once bought home a left hand drive Herbie without the passenger seat which he convinced us was the original from the movies oh and also the strangest of cars a bond bug, not very practical when you consider we were a family of 8!
The one thing I always remember however and it continues to this day, is that the excitement and pure joy on that man’s face, coupled with the look of complete apathy when he grew bored of it. It may have been as soon as the week after or maybe even the next year, but bored he most definitely became.
Recently having had him on the phone I imagined he was going to tell me how much he was enjoying the new Freelander I had acquired for him from a dealer friend; the spec, the ride, the comfort and so on. Instead he said he had made another mistake he shouldn’t have bought it he should have stuck with his Passat estate. You see it isn’t really the car but more it is the chase and the feeling of conquering and trailblazing that appeals to him. All sense and reason goes out the window when he is ‘on one’ as my mum puts it.
Try as I might to dissuade him from his foolhardy endeavours and remind about the money it costs him in depreciation it all falls on deaf ears, and when he gets ‘on one’ he freely admits his mistake, that he has been a fool and should have listened. However he still continues to make the same poor choices, flitting from car to car and haemorrhaging my inheritance in the process.
I’m no psychoanalyst (I’m a used car professional) and I’m sure there are those of you out there reading this that know of others like my step dad, but I simply can’t explain this irrational behaviour.
However I can relate to one aspect of it. When I was a sales manager many moons ago I still used to get a thrill from taking home my latest demo the first time to impress the wife and kids and annoy the neighbours who thought there’s that “Flash Harry” in his new car every 3 months. The point is no matter what car I have ever had no mater what, and I have had Porsches, Range Rovers, high spec M series BMW’s, and so on, the one thing they all have in common for me is that the novelty wore off almost as soon as the first 100 miles had clicked by.
It’s almost as if the instant gratification I felt at jumping in it and putting my foot down and cranking up the sounds was just like methadone to a heroin addict just not really hitting the spot!
I put it down to the fact that I never actually owned any of these cars so there was an element of detachment and it wouldn’t be long before little things would start to annoy me about the cars and at that point all pleasure was lost. But then would I really in all truth sink £50-60k of my hard earned into a car? Absolutely no way.
I recently saw my dream car an Audi R8 with 5 owners and it was only 4 years old with relatively low miles and still worth circa £40k. It then struck me that the boredom team must have visited some of these owners, either that or they realised that paying £5k for some tyres and a major service was a bit too painful.
Whilst chewing this over I saw an advert from a company that hires these dream cars out for the weekend or the week or probably even the year and at first I thought who would want to do that? But on considering it, if boredom sets in – as it surely will – at least its cost you a lot less and you can bottle all that fun up into a short space of time and then give it back at the end knowing you have had a whole lot of thrills for the money.
I won’t be telling the step dad this though as he might develop a bad weekend habit!