Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I’ve been test-driving cars lately.
At certain times, I get the craving for the new-car smell and the salesperson’s cheery patter.
Well, the former, at least.
Actually, that’s almost unfair. I’ve found that many car salespeople have become remarkably un-carselly.
Having test-driven more than half a dozen cars recently, I’ve not received one phone call or email to try and entice me to sign something and handover a large check.
This has, perhaps, led me to wonder what’s the catch with this weird serenity.
I assume some cars are just smoke and mirrors and the salespeople are just waiting to reel you in and let you choke yourself on your aspirations.
So I’ve been paying unusual attention to whether certain sorts of cars are more reliable than others.
Ask someone who loves their BMW and they’ll tell you Audis are made of discarded tin cans and old TV wires.
Ask someone who loves their Prius and then slowly walk away, before their sanctimoniousness bores you into a coma.
Having just returned from an almost tempting hour’s test drive in which I got stuck in spectacular traffic and discovered all sorts of delights about a certain salesman, I came back to be struck by a new study of 50,742 cars.
Conducted by the UK’s consumer champion Which?, this study offered one startling revelation: The most unreliable cars are luxury cars.
They share the unreliability title with people-carriers, but the latter cost a fraction of their luxury overlords.
You might think, indeed, that if you’re going to spend at least $50,000 on boosting your ego, your car might not deflate you more often than your ego currently does.
Yet Which? insists that 36 percent of the luxury cars it surveyed suffered from at least one problem within the first three years.
Which sounds like a rather painful proportion.
Imagine if one-third of the clothes bought at Prada came apart a little within three years.
Imagine if one-third of the engagement rings bought at Tiffany suffered a dislodged jewel within that period.
This feels like carelessness unbridled.
What’s unclear from the Which? report is whether there was a certain type of fault that was most prevalent.
One thing I’ve found on test-drives is that salespeople want to make you marvel at all the technological gizmos the car enjoys.
Could it be that it’s exactly these gizmos that are making fancy cars more fault-ridden?
Otherwise, one is left to contemplate extremely lazy robots — and the occasional human — who just can’t put a leather-encrusted sedan together properly.
Perhaps equally disturbing — and amusing — is that the most reliable cars in this study were, well, city cars.
You know, the little runarounds that people on Fifth Avenue laugh at as being for the little people.
Could it be that the most attractive car — just like the most attractive lover — is the most likely to let you down?
There’s a certain poetry in that.