Motoring specialist, author and radio talk show host, Sagie Moodley is the Bush Telegram’s authority figure when it comes to all things wheels. Guaranteed to give you the best advice when considering a new or pre-owned vehicle, Sagie’s monthly column is a true value ad to Bush Telegram readers. In this month’s delivery, Sagie declares his love for the French…and their autos.
The other day I recommended a lady friend to buy a Renault as I believe that you get a whole lot more for your money than you would get in a so called name brand. Needless to say, she questioned my credibility as a motoring specialist because she had heard that French cars were rubbish. Now had she just said that I did not know what I was talking about, in general, I might have agreed with her. But she had heard from her butcher who had heard from his dietician that French cars were generally bad and cost a fortune to repair.
Had I heard this in conversation 10 years ago, I would have agreed whole heartedly. You did not need to be knowledgeable about cars to see that the French cars, having made their appearance once more on our sunny South African shores, were absolute crap. I had said so on numerous occasions on the radio and was proven right. One manufacturer would not even take their own product in as a trade in. How could they expect the public to have faith in their products when they themselves were shying away from their vehicles? This left a bad taste in many consumers’ mouths and many more have vowed never to touch anything French again (cars that is).
Some of the complaints were legitimate, but handled badly by the dealerships, and therefore gave the product a bad image. Most complaints were about the pricing and availability of spares for these vehicles. At the time most of these grievances were based on real problems with these cars. It has taken a long time for the French motor car manufacturers to rectify this problem, and having done so, the perception, unfortunately, remains that a French car is kak.Let me give you some examples of how the French have made huge strides in trying to rectify their initial failures. Peugeot are backing their product with a class leading five year maintenance contract on their motor vehicles. If this is not confidence in their product then what is. Renault have 95% of spares available at any time. If they do not have service spares available and your car stands for more than 3 days, they will rent a vehicle for you, all this within reason of course. How can you argue with that? All their new vehicles carry a 150 000km/5 year factory warranty. This is as good as any other manufacturer out there.
My experience with Citroen has only ever been pleasant and their spares are available in a day. The spares people also know exactly what you require. This so called spares problem was non-existent when I required spares from any one of the three French manufacturers. Yes, sometime their prices seem exorbitant, but then have you compared their pricing with so called German vehicles from the same segment?
All manufacturers have their problems, recalls and parts issues, but does that mean their product is bad? No, it merely means that you may just have to endure a little inconvenience. So, next time you are looking for a great second hand buy, try a Frenchie, you may just be pleasantly surprised.
- Looking for help with that troublesome fuel guzzler or the noisy motor, drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in at Segi’s Auto Performance, Shop U 1, Gallagher Corner, Richards Drive, Halfway House, Midrand. You can also call me on 076 829 7816.