I recently attended an event organised by a ‘premium’ manufacturer for journalists to try some of its increasingly wide range.
The company’s PR supremo informed the gathering that not only was his the ‘leading’ premium brand, but if you added up all the horsepower of the 30 cars he had brought for our delectation, it came to over 8000 bhp.
I was slightly taken aback at such immodesty and I found that while the cars themselves were as expected, beautifully appointed, refined and comfortable and virtually drove themselves, there was a distinct limit to the usefulness of 400bhp around the lanes of Northamptonshire.
Indeed the only car that struck as eminently practical was a three-cylinder hatchback which, with its manual gearbox provided an enjoyably interactive driving experience and with just over 100 horsepower did not require gigabites of software to keep me out of the hedge.
Later, I borrowed this model for longer assessment and it continued to impress me. However, a neighbour, also a car fan, observed that “those cars have got a reputation, haven’t they?” He was pointing to the large corporate grill, and suggested that was the one he saw most often aggressively close in his rear view mirror. It was a thought I had had too, and independently my son had made the same observation.
Sustained marketing emphasis on ‘premium’ and ‘power’ may have contributed to this middle class version of white van man. While it would be a very bad day for freedom if legislators rather than market forces killed ultra powerful cars, some element of responsibility instilled into a few of the drivers of these otherwise admirable cars would seem to be called for.
A company which has never needed 400 or 600 horsepower to attract attention is Suzuki: often called the small car experts (VW certainly thought so as it tried very hard to buy the company) Suzuki has impressed us all in recent years with intelligent new models like the Swift and Ignis as well as the redesigned old favourite Vitara.
The plethora of awards from markets as diverse as Australia and South Africa and a steadily growing British market show a manufacturer in good form. Suzuki UK is kindly hosting the Western Group’s meeting on May 19-20 and we are very much looking forward to trying its latest offerings.
Maserati will be bringing two of its highly desirable luxury models to #DD2018 on 6 June at Castle Combe.
It’s the first time the Trident badge will be seen in the paddock at this unique event for our colleagues in the PR departments.
With little over a month to go before the event, all the familiar features have been lined up and press officers are signing up.
If you’ve not yet registered, and you must to attend, then please go now to the dedicated event website and sign up.
We would hate you to miss out.
Kieron Fennelly | Vice-Chairman WGMW
As a youngster he used to send race reports on Mallory Park meetings to the Derby Evening Telegraph which unaccountably always failed to print them. For thirty years he produced reports and analysis for other people before turning to motoring journalism and writing about matters rather closer to heart. An old 911, acquired when they were still affordable opened the world of Porsche and today he writes on historical subjects for several Porsche magazines in Europe and the US. He is also the UK correspondent for the classic car weekly, La Vie de l’Auto and keeps a foot in the modern world with a column in Trucking, a transport magzine, and as motoring correspondent for the Irish Police Journal.