I have a good friend here in Birmingham who works as an engineer for Jaguar/Land Rover and he says that it is very likely that he will be one of the 3000 people working for them to get the axe here in the UK. When he told me this a week or so ago I was absolutely dumbfounded.
Admittedly Jaguars and Land Rovers are not 'popular' cars in a world gone 'eco' nuts but they are British cars (Or at least they used to be.) and support the economy of this country. As someone who does not believe that human beings are to blame for the so called 'global warming' (Or is it climate change now, Al Bore?) not to mention needing a 7-seater vehicle I am in the market for a Land Rover Discovery 3.
I have looked at other vehicles such as the Mercedes R320, the Volkswagen Touran and the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso but would have loved to get the Discovery 3.
So, I looked online and found 3 Land Rover dealers in my area and took a ride to the closest one to take a test-drive and get some literature on the truck. Upon arriving to the dealership I walked inside and started to look around at all the different vehicles available including the 2 different versions of the Discovery 3. After a few minutes I was asked by some woman if I had been helped yet to which I informed her that I had not been.
She told me that she would get someone right out to help me as I looked at the interior of one of the Discovery models.
A minute or so later a man walks out and asks me some general questions as to what I am looking for. He then asked me a few questions that I have never been asked before at a dealership in the UK or any other country for that matter.
"Are you a resident of the country?"
"Do you have a full UK driving licence?"
"What kind of car are you driving now?"
It seemed to me that he was trying to get rid of me so that he could go back and sit in his office before going home in 50 minutes when the clock struck 6PM. Once he realized that I was not here to waste his time he sat me down and took some information from me to get a price for the truck.
After leaving me outside on the sales floor for about 20 minutes he comes out and shows me what he can offer me the truck for. I told him that was all very well but when was I going to be able to take the truck for a spin?
He looks at his watch. It is now approaching 5.35PM. He says to me well we don't actually have a manual for you to test-drive. There are only a few automatics. To his frustration I told him that that was not a problem.
He went to get the dealer plates and make a photocopy of my licence and then took me to the back of the dealership where the trucks were parked.
"Oops. I grabbed the wrong keys." By the time he comes back it is slightly past 5.40PM and we get into the truck. I pull out and test-drive the very comfortable and sturdy Discovery 3 for only about 10 minutes as the dealership is beginning to shutdown.
I park the truck back in its place and we sat there having some small chat about how I liked it.
He then gives me his card and we part ways.
As I did not like the way the salesman had treated me I had no intention of returning to give him my business. But I had taken my literature, received a quote and test drove the vehicle.
The next day I called the other 2 Land Rover dealers in the area and spoke with some salesmen and told them what I was looking for. I was told by each dealership that they would look up some numbers and get back to me.
To this day both of them have not. I even called them both back a week later and told the receptionist that I had already called and given my information to a salesman but had not had a call back.
I tried to give my money to Land Rover and they didn't seem to want it. And that is a shame because my friend and many others may lose their jobs because this company doesn't have enough cash-flow. I am not silly enough to think that I would save a few jobs at Land Rover/Jaguar if I had bought a Discovery 3 but the troubling part is that if this has happened to me I am sure it has happened to others too.
Oh, well. I really don't mind a German car I guess...