Matt Greenop on motoring

Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

What's in a name? For some everything

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Peugeot 308 R Concept to appear at Frankfurt Motor Show. Photo / Supplied
Peugeot 308 R Concept to appear at Frankfurt Motor Show. Photo / Supplied

The importance people place on the badge on the front of a car obviously varies depending on how rabid their vehicular obsession is. I've known people who refused to get in some cars. If you're thinking that sounds like a Holden fan, you might be right.

An old Cortina I owned way back in the mists of time was off limits to one mate; a proud HQ owner, who could well have been being told to get into a boiling lava pit. "It's just not right, I can't do it," he'd say. His family had a Holden line-up on the driveway that would make the famous scene in The Castle. These days, he drives an Audi - because his missus wanted him to. Mind you, "she who must be obeyed" is probably scarier than his Ford phobia.

I started thinking about this as the Skoda Rapid launched this week. A lot of manufacturers are trying to fill their ranges with machines to suit all tastes, wants and needs. Look at the Porsche showroom - could you imagine a Cayenne hitting the market 20 years ago? Now, Macan, the smaller SUV from Stuttgart is just around the corner, and Maserati and Lamborghini SUVs are coming.

Do these efforts by carmakers mean their loyalists will shop for the whole family at the one dealership? A Ferrari salesman I spoke to last year said one customer buying a California spied the very pricey Fiat 500 Tributo Ferrari - essentially a pimped Cinquecento with some Maranello-themed add-ons. The obviously well-heeled buyer said "I'll take that as well, for the wife", without really looking at it, let alone taking a test drive.

Loving your car, its brand, and what it stands for is a good thing. Complete ranges, ditto. But in the increasingly cut-throat automotive world where global giants rule and the bottom line is the be all and end all, are people going to put aside their beloved makes and marques? How good does a deal have to be before you'll switch allegiances - service plans, warranties and other add-ons are abundant in the market these days. Or, like my old mate, does fear of a domestic tantrum trump everything?

- NZ Herald

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