Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press
When I was a little girl, an inexpensive day out involved either visits to car showrooms or a wander round showhomes on new housing developments.
We used to love taking a peek around recently decorated houses but my parents had to keep a close eye on us kids.
My brother had a habit of hiding in cupboards and I had a penchant for trying out the toilets until the fateful day when I spent a penny in one which hadn’t been plumbed in.
A hurried exit was necessary.
My brother and I were only slightly less troublesome trying out the cars in showrooms: we collectedbrochures then sat in every seat in every car, twiddling buttons and winding the windows up and down.
I was thinking about this when my husband and I recently had a canter round numerous garages. I did behave myself, I promise, but it was still exciting to see the gleaming new vehicles and absorb that wonderful “new car aroma”.
The only disappointment was the fact that, after a while, the showrooms were so alike that my recollection of what we’d seen was blurred.
It occurred to me that car manufacturers could help their customers by making their showrooms more distinctive. But how?
At the risk of stereotyping every nationality, I did wonder whether cars could be displayed in a manner which best represented each country.
I put this to hubby as we drove up the A1 to Newcastle to visit my mum and it proved to be a pleasant way to while away the time.
Aside from the obvious idea of flags or sales people in national dress, we did come up with a few ideas.
Instead of proffering coffee and biscuits, Italian garages should serve icecream and pizzas. Italians would welcome naughty children with open arms: they wouldn’t mind buttontwiddlers.
Evenings would be the best time to visit when the cars parade up and down, enjoying the customary Passeggiata.
Tapas and sangria available from the reception desk, the warmth of Spanish showrooms would be obvious on entering.
Be mindful of the opening hours as they are likely to have a siesta in the afternoon but open until late.
Japanese showrooms could display their new models in the style of a sushi bar: customers would sit and wait for them to appear on a carousel.
All sales to be accompanied by a tea ceremony.
It’s all about style in French showrooms.
I’m thinking catwalk: cars cruising down the runway, turning at the end, quick flash of headlights for potential customers?
Try as we might, we couldn’t improve on the style of German showrooms: the sleek, functional designs already echo German efficiency.
It was at the point when we were considering cookouts for Chevrolets that our son, Rory, removed his earplugs and wanted to know what we were talking about. We gave him the gist of the conversation and asked him how, for example, Swedish garages should sell their motors.
“Oh, that’s easy,” he replied. “The cars would come flatpacked”.