Cardigan Cars

Are car makers guilty of ageism? Let me explain. In a popular English seaside resort there are not one but two men’s clothing stores where the style barometer has apparently got stuck at 1959. Why is there still a market for beige slacks and grey three season jackets with nice patch pockets and a useful integral fold-away hood? Peering through the window you might find yourself being appraised by a wizened sales assistant with oily hair, a side parting, a dubious moustache and a skilled eye for spotting the ‘older’ clientele, so obviously someone still buys this stuff. It makes me wonder; at what point do people become ‘old’? Not in the sense of decaying bodies but as a concept. When should women first have a cauliflower haircut and buy a little white cardy whilst encouraging their husbands to buy a suitable new car?

Manufacturers are aware of the ‘older demographic’. It is understood that a large proportion of the car buying market is over 55 so it seems clear that certain cars are marketed in certain subtle ways. Take the Toyota Yaris. This is an excellent small car; versatile, roomy and reliable, yet it is seen – wrongly in these difficult times – and especially by the young, as an old fogey’s car. Ditto the Honda Jazz, a popular buy in the used car market as a ‘safe’ option. This car has traditionally been seen as the preserve of those in their fifties and sixties( not my words – don‘t shoot the messenger), so much so that the marketing for the Jazz Hybrid has definitely been targeted at a younger audience. It is as if ‘old people’ won’t understand the technology or reasoning behind it.

Older people have more money. They are more likely to buy a prestige car, but not with leery styling or vivid colours. Silver surfers buy silver cars, not because they necessarily like it but rather because they see it as a ‘safe’ colour come re-sale time. Did you know that the average age for a Ferrari buyer is over 50? The company have been looking at how older people get into and out of a low slung sports car – and without falling about laughing as well! Other manufacturers are making dashboard information bigger and easier to read. Oldies are considered to be a different breed.

Old folk sometimes don’t help themselves when it comes to age related differences. Take the 76 year old lady (no names – I’ll spare her blushes) who drove the wrong way around a roundabout causing mayhem. There ensued a 17 mile police pursuit in which speeds were as low as ten and never higher than 20mph. She resolutely refused to stop. In the end the cops did a ‘rolling roadblock’ as an officer ran alongside the vehicle and knocked on the window. You couldn’t make it up.

So are car makers ageist? Well, yes and no. They understand that people get old and, as with most brands, adjust their products or promotions accordingly BUT, the fault really lies with folks themselves. They are persuaded that they are old because society says they’re old. That’s the attitude that has got to change.

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Mum Is A Better Driver Than Dad – Discuss

The word on the street is that all male drivers believe that women should not be driving and that the place of the lady / wife / partner (delete as appropriate) is in the kitchen, possibly baking, whilst wearing pretty dresses and smelling of a discreet, but never provocative, perfume.

Here at Motor Blogger, of course, we would never, ever subscribe to such a theory. Perish the thought. Absolutely unacceptable; and it seems that the children of Britain agree, as a survey suggests that they prefer Mum to drive. Now, all parents know that children will brown-nose the adult who can provide the necessary service / lift / cash advance (delete as appropriate) at any given point in time. They are wily creatures. However, a massive 60% of ankle-biters have stated that, when the mother is driving, they are happier and more relaxed.

Apparently Mum is more considerate to other road users and does not lane-hop. Road rage is unknown. Mums are also likely to engage in lively conversation to keep the family happy, even to the point of cheerily singing, and are the parent of choice for the school run. Unfortunately the kids have also sort of grassed Mum up about stalling the car and her bizarre inability to park in a space the size of a football pitch. Now, before you Ladies start reaching for the Molotov cocktails, please remember that we’re only reporting a survey. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Fathers, meanwhile, get a bit of a raw deal. They drive too fast and too aggressively. They are prone to road rage and are seen as a bad example to the future driver in the back seat; but let’s go for a bit of fairness here, shall we? Not all men are road hogs; some are the saints of the streets, always ready to absolutely maximise the mileage out of a gallon of petrol, even if it means driving at 30mph in the middle lane of a motorway. These tarmac heroes will always know a shortcut from Stevenage to Basingstoke, even if you don’t want to go there, and are ready with technical advice at the drop of a clutch.

So balance in all things, right? Children will say anything to keep in with Mum. It’s a well known fact. So in the meantime I’m going to give you two quotes from my old man which have stood me in good stead over the years:

“If you don’t stop moaning I’m going to turn this car around and go home just as soon as I can get past this cretin!” and “Ask your Mother!”

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Saving Money On Servicing

Servicing is very important to keeping your car running efficiently and in preventing breakdowns.  It can also help you achieve a higher resale price when you finally come to selling your car and can mean that you shift your car a lot quicker.  More and more often, buyers will simply ignore and completely ignore any car that doesn’t have a service history, making it practically impossible to sell.

The costs of servicing can add up though.  MOT’s, full services, part services and then the costs of fixing anything that has gone wrong can all add up to some really significant sums.  There are a few ways of minimising these costs though.

The first thing to do is to try and time your MOT and servicing so that they are due at the same time.  Many garages will offer a discount when you combine your MOT and service and have them both done at the same time.  The reason is simple – When they conduct an MOT they are already getting involved in your car and checking the essentials.  This crosses over with a lot of the stuff that they will check out in a service and therefore they can afford to charge you less as it is quicker and easier for them to do both at the same time.  If you don’t make use of this discount you are effectively paying for your brakes to be checked on your MOT and then paying for them to be checked again on your service.  So, try to get them both done together at a discount.

The second thing is to use a specialist.  Using main dealers can be extremely expensive and see huge hourly rates.  Using a specialist can knock as much as 50% off these prices and sometimes even more.  The irony is that most specialists originally worked at the main dealers and then moved on to start their own business.  This effectively means that you are paying someone who is just as qualified and experienced on your car as the main dealer but at a fraction of the price.  They will also often make a smaller mark up on parts as well which can save even more money.

The most important tip for saving money on servicing though is to not avoid a service!  Some people think the best way to save money is to simply ignore a service and just keep driving.  This can actually prove to be the most expensive decision of all because missing a service can mean that you miss detecting small problems before they grow into big problems that can cost serious money!

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Most Wanted Cars For WAGS

For those of you who haven’t been on this planet for the last few years, a WAG is the female partner of a footballer and stands for “Wives And Girlfriends”.  These WAG’s are famous for their choice of luxury cars and often their choices influence many of the public.

The most infamous WAG’s choice of car is the Range Rover Sport.  It’s chunky looks, brutish power and beautiful interior make it the perfect choice for these young and rich ladies to cruise around in style.  There is also plenty of room for the school run while still looking ultra cool and being protected in a big cocoon of safety and class.

The thing that WAG’s love about the Range Rover Sport is the “Bling” factor.  Lots of shiny chrome, beefed up body parts and flashy lights is everything that a WAG looks for in a car and the Range Rover Sport does it all with ease.  They are also very easily “kitted up” with lots of little extras and can easily accommodate some huge alloy wheels.

Other cars that WAG’s love include Bentley’s for similar reasons but the Toyota Prius is also a favourite for the WAG that likes to show off the fact that she is “economically minded”.  As more and more people have begun to complain about how wasteful a 4×4 is with the planets resources, it has become more and more fashionable to drive around in a hybrid and show that you really care!

However, there is now the perfect compromise with the new member of the Range Rover family.  The Range Rover Evoque was released in 2011 and unbelievably looked as good as it did in its original concept stages.  The Range rover Evoque has all the class and bling factor of its bigger brother, the Range Rover Sport, but it is smaller and more economical.

The beauty of the Range Rover Evoque is that it is a 4×4 but its emissions and petrol consumption is very similar to a standard family saloon, meaning that the argument of being wasteful with the planets resources doesn’t really stand up.  However, the benefit of still having a stunning car with big wheels and lots of shiny chrome remains.  The interior of the car as well is truly amazing.  The levels of comfort and quality inside make this a car that you will just love to be in and that is why WAG’s are now quickly adopting this as their new car of choice.  Wait for this to be “the next big thing”!

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Government Takes Three Times Road Spending in Motoring Taxes

Yes, you read that headline right. Latest figures from the Department for Transport have revealed that the Government now takes three times more than the budget earmarked for spending on the UK’s roads through levies on the motorist.

It begs the question what do we pay our road tax, fuel duty – the most significant portion of the price of a litre of fuel at 70 per cent – further VAT on fuel and insurance premium duty for if it’s just going straight into the coffers of old Queen Lizzies’ HM Revenue and Customs?

road Government Takes Three Times Road Spending in Motoring Taxes

The shocking state of the UK’s roads can only be blamed on the previous couple of harsh winters to a certain extent – the fact that only one third of what is taken in taxes on drivers is ever reinvested in the country’s road network is the real reason for the fields of potholes and emerging trenches that litter the motorways, trunk roads and high streets of Great Britain.

Last year the Treasury raised roughly £27 billion in fuel duty – the tax levied on a litre of fuel by the Chancellor, George Osborne – with around £5 billion coming from road tax.

Of this £33 billion purse, just under £5.7 billion was spent on the UK’s local roads with £3.75 billion put towards the up keep of national roads – a rough total of £9.45 billion expenditure and only 27 per cent of the total collected by the Treasury’s coffers.

Not only is the miserly spending on keeping the national road network up to date shocking, the fact that Department for Transport figures highlight the take from road tax doubled from 1987 to 2010, and revenue from fuel duty more than tripled, compounds motorists’ anger further.

“This is highway robbery. Using so little of the taxes motorists pay on road upkeep is plainly unfair.

“Motorists are also paying the price as Britain’s potholed and increasingly dangerous roads take their toll, damaging tyres, wheels, steering and suspension.” said Neil Greig, Director of policy and research for the IAM.

AA president Edmund King added: “fuel duty alone contributes more than 5% of the public finances tax take, including council tax. The Treasury is beginning to find out how high fuel prices and tax have started to kill off the goose that lays the golden egg.”

As fuel prices rocket to an all-time high and sales at the pumps drop, the government has to realise it needs to cut its taxes on the motorist and seriously improve the service drivers of the UK receive for the financial cost of taxes on driving, or the self-perpetuating situation is set to continue on its current downward spiral.

 

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