Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Motel Cars

It was with great sadness when I read Ford Australia's announcement that the Falcon will be retired.

Over the years, commercial travellers arrived at out motel in a limited range of vehicles. Sales reps were commonly allotted a narrow range of Ford, Holden and Toyota sedans. The higher the rep's status, the further up the manufacturer's range they went, with top performers allotted 6/8-cylinder Falcons, Commodores and Camrys.

Sales reps are now arriving at our motel in a seemingly endless range of vehicle makes and models.

The Falcon, as with other large-engine vehicle options has been under threat for some time from company bean-counters continue to make one-off fleet deals for smaller engine capacity vehicles from a wide range of manufacturer distributors now available.

Even the vehicle types now driven by sales reps have become fragmented with mass-consumer spec'd SUVs and utes adding to the once dominant sedan.

Although I still can't see any sense in driving a lumbering SUV or ute, I like to think that I'm not tunnel visioned when it comes to vehicle branding. I attempted to prove this to my self 18-months ago when contemplating a new Motella-mobile.

I parked my car with  with a little lion emblazoned on the hood outside the local Ford dealership and after taking a deep breath, strode into the unfathomed territory of a car show room with a large blue oval prominently displayed.

I was quizzically greeted with by a dapper older gentleman and after sharing the usual pleasantries I broke the following awkward silence by stating that I was interested in looking at one of those Falcony things. I wanted one with large tyres, an exhaust the size of a drainpipe and a V8 engine - what models have you got?

A strange look came over the salesman's face, he started to look rather uncomfortable and replied that they no longer stock V8s any more and proceeded to give a rather long and boring explanation about how Ford had split divisions, changed the supply chain and apparently getting one of these rare beasts was....really hard for them.

I broke a further awkward silence by asking for a brochure and was again greeted with a bemused look. The salesman ducked out the back and after rifling around for a bit found a glossy brochure of very nice looking cars from last year's FPV range and proudly announced that I could get a general idea what the current models may look like.

I  helpfully mentioned that I could probably look on the internet for the very latest models. This proposed exit strategy to rid the showroom of an annoying customer brightened up the salesman no end...

After stalking out of the showroom of the blue oval I went straight down to the Holden dealership. As I entered the showroom I felt immediately at ease as I saw the familiar red logo with the lion on it. I was welcomed back home by a salesman that I went to school with and soon we were sipping instant coffee from plastic mugs and swapping stories about our children.

Brochures of muscular looking cars with all the right credentials were offered and I started wondering why I ever contemplated entering the den of the blue oval.

I learned a lot that day....after I arrived  home, I listed my aging Holden on TradeMe.

Much later I went online and purchased another car with a little lion emblazoned on the hood from an out of town dealer I had never met before and it arrived on a car carrier a few weeks later....

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