Journalists and PRs in the motoring world share their love of cars and that has been severely tested over the last 12 months.
Jobs have gone, people have gone, plans shelved and events cancelled, including our own WGMW PR Driving Day 2020.
Some journalists and PRs who have regularly jumped into and out of company cars, whether press fleet or come-with-job models have found the cars have gone along with work and they have to look elsewhere for their wheels and employment. A handful of PRs have been fortunate enough during the last year to have moved brands and experience some new company car or other.
But what do you do if you don’t already have a non-work family, second car or set of weekend wheels? Would you really buy new or more likely second-hand or would you even consider a classic?
There are some well known PRs who have enjoyed good salaries and being car-nuts have bought some highly desirable classics from premium brands, but of course you’d never see them being driven in a working context. Journalists can get away with it much more easily and turn up at one manufacturer event with a car from another. It’s all part of the job after all.
BREAKING NEWS: The date for Milbrook is confirmed as the 27 May SMMT Events – SMMT Media Centre – however, can’t confirm what restrictions will be integrated.
Some writers have their own beloved set of wheels under a dust sheet in a garage and it’s always interesting to see what they turn up with at events, whether work or socially related. One WGMW member has a serious stable of classics from which to choose and is rarely seen in the same car twice unless the fuel tank’s full.
The price of new cars and customers’ reluctance to spend in uncertain times has definitely hit registrations, possibly as hard as the lockdowns we have seen and no-one can say when a “normal” situation will return, if ever.
One PR recently went further than many of his colleagues and decided to buy a 20 year old popular classic and this co-incided with a serious attempt to win over younger drivers to the attractions of classics with a loan scheme. After a few years of quietly bringing together keen classic car enthusiasts with some well kept classic wheels from several decades, the idea has really taken off.
More cars and young drivers were added recently and still more partnerships will be announced this spring. This proves there is still a strong desire to support classics.
There is money to be made in the classics club with original manufacturers making so-called Continuation models with six-figure price tags.. A motor sports parts business has also launched a range of Ford Escort Mk1 and M2 models from £69,000 and £100,000 respectively. Serious cash.
While they are out of the price range for all but the wealthiest buyers there’s no doubting that second hand cars of modest years now represent a good alternative to a more expensive new model, particularly as improved reliability and rustproofing has removed the worries of many potential buyers.
With the future move to ban new petrol and diesel models and sell only electric cars there is likely to be more interest in the nearly-new car Parc, until of course the natural decline in the internal combustion engine sees filling stations diminish and we end up buying fuel from a select few suppliers.
Who can say for certain that will happen, but for now we can enjoy both old and new cars, ensure today’s young drivers cherish the classics, and hopefully us scribblers will still find something to write about, whatever means of power is used and PRs will still be in post to promote them.
Robin is the longest serving chairman of The Western Group. He’s been vice chairman or chairman for over ten years and oversees the annual Western Group PR Driving Day each summer assisted by the group committee and supported by group members.
He contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.
Robin specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes WheelsWithinWales.uk which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.