Most of us are guilty of some sorts of snobbery from time to time. It is often a refinement of the (mis)information we receive at our parents’ and guardians’ feet, as they attempt to choose our chums, dress us according to their own tastes, stuff our faces with certain foods and drive us around in a certain brand of automobile only a fool would fail to own. No wonder then, when it comes to choosing cars, many are stuck in a rut of conformity, toeing the line from ‘Mark 1’ to ‘Mark 6’ and beyond. An uncharacteristic dip in the pool of an unfamiliar manufacturer often results in an alienating new environment and a quick scuttle back to the warm bosom of familiar switch gear and vinyl aroma of the ’home’ brand. Some call this brand allegiance. Often it is the result of brand snobbery.
My current classic vehicles are of Jensen, Austin, Humber and Daimler manufacture, all British, yes, clearly I am not immune to a certain amount of conformity (I grew up in a confirmed Ford family), but my daily driver is a 2013 SsangYong Korando, a car I have no plans on changing anytime soon. Other daily divers and classics I have owned have included the products of Mazda, Toyota, Rover, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, BMW, Jaguar, Ford, Vauxhall……. you get the picture, I’m a thrill seeker. That is, I revel in the thrill of the unfamiliar.
My step into the world of South Korea’s SsangYong cars (yes, South Korean), not that I am bothered by manufacturer location unless that comes with human rights or environmental baggage, followed another manufacturer’s representative’s arrogant slamming of the company’s products, in chorus with a couple of my own work colleagues’ without them ever having so much as sat in one.
I was incensed by such arrogance and so I immediately made contact with SsangYong, requesting a demonstration drive of a few of the so-called underdog’s products. My overtures reached the ears of the good people of that company and they happily agreed to supply me with a demo car then, and on several occasions since. Indeed, it was my experience with the brand’s products which led to the purchase of the above-mentioned car.
Which was the manufacturer whose representative’s attitude turned me from them so comprehensively? Suffice to say that the Japanese-based car maker has recently pulled out of the European market, unsurprisingly if that was the type of stinking attitude which prevailed, rather than the quiet self-assuredness and fair play of the Korean underdog.
Yes, do support local industry, although global ownership fudges the issue somewhat, but try something out of your comfort zone. Sample the products of another manufacturer, or perhaps try something from a completely different era. Pre and early post-war cars are something of a bargain right now, as many of the enthusiasts of the types are finally hanging up their driving gloves and goggles.
The latter types often garner more attention than more recent supercars and folks are less likely to think that you’re a total wa…!
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