Wednesday, November 14Serving the aftermarket

Sentiment is good for business

According to new research carried out by the AA, drivers are becoming more sentimental, with many choosing to give their cars a name.

I’ve done it, many a time, So I can understand the reasons why. A car with a name has its own personality, and therefore you bond with it more. Things that you bond with, you care about, which means you’ll look after it. So more drivers bonding with their cars means more servicing for garages. Naming cars is a good thing!

The vehicle in the picture above is Bet, short for Betty. I didn’t name her, my friends at college did, way back in the day. One had a scooter called Beryl, the other a car named Bertie. So seeing B, E and T in the numberplate, the name was given, and it stuck.

I owned Bet for eight years. She started life as a 1.3-litre 4-speed Ford Escort Mk4, an L model. Nothing special. But I bought the car with a small inheritance from my Nan, and I passed my driving test in that car, so it was already special to me.

It underwent a few changes over the years, firstly a 1.6 Escort lump was installed, mated to a 5-speed transmission. Then there’s the bodywork, not everyone’s cup of tea, but I liked it. And no, I didn’t ‘hoon’ around car parks late at night. I loved that car, I took it to shows, I cleaned and polished it weekly. I wasn’t going to risk binning her into a wall!

Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you how much I cared for Bet. Only a few were allowed to drive her, and I learnt all of her niggles – for example – a small kink in the accelerator cable (remember them!) which I could feel each time I pushed the pedal. But that made the car more personable.

I was gutted when I sold her, but times had changed and I hoped the person I sold to would keep me updated. His plans changed however, three months later she was sold again and is now probably broken up somewhere. But if she was in one piece – I’d buy her back in an instant.

I spent a lot of money on that car, and that’s what people do when they form a bond. You can grow attached to anything, and machinery is a popular thing, so when customers bring their cars to you, they often do so because they believe you can be trusted with their pride and joy. That’s something to be proud of!

Also, in my time, I’ve owned…

  • Trixy
  • Audrey
  • Mags
  • Juliet
  • Vivien
  • Emily

And many more. Do you name your car? Let us know! Post to our new Facebook group, and follow us on Twitter @autorepairfocus