Clearly the barrier to innovation is cost but the financial rewards of getting the right product to market first can result in an early return of the initial investment.
However, when it comes to manufacturing cars, the cost of R&D alone followed by the necessary tooling can often make innovation too expensive for all but the very richest motorists.
Not just that but there often seems to be a natural reticence among many women drivers to veer from the make and model they are familiar with. Perhaps that’s because so few of us enjoy the showroom experience which is a missed opportunity for many car dealerships. This may explain why so many females are loyal to Fords and Vauxhalls of course, which remain among the top sellers for Club members.
But ‘times they are a changing’ and new manufacturers and models make this an exciting and highly competitive time to consider other choices, including hybrid cars; especially for those of us wanting to demonstrate a more responsible attitude to our environment, influenced by diminishing energy supplies and the increasing cost of fuel. And we now know that hybrid cars are more affordable to buy and result in genuinely economic motoring, as long as the running costs are calculated and factored into the initial purchase decision.
Hybrids can be great value for money
The clever thing about hybrids is that their engines can be either petrol or diesel and they know best when to switch to being battery driven so you achieve terrific miles per gallon of fuel without having to do anything yourself! Not only are hybrids highly environmentally friendly in terms of emissions, you’ll find them in the zero car tax (VED) category and the final financial wow factor for those who live in London is that they are currently exempt from the Congestion Charge of £10 per day.
Clearly no-one can predict what Boris or HM Government is likely to do in terms of taxation levels in future but assuming the price rises as always, it’s still fair to predict that hybrid cars will be in the cheapest group because they are the most responsible cars to drive.
The Kylie experience
I test drove the Lexus 200h and was very impressed. You can buy cheaper of course but I doubt you’ll enjoy the same quality or level of customer service if my experience of Lexus and that of many motorists completing dealership surveys is anything to go by. This is the car that most of us will remember Kylie driving in the ‘shhhh’ adverts and if motoring noise is a problem for you (we can hear traffic from a distant bypass when the office windows are open) we’d all enjoy more peace and quiet, assuming many more hybrids on British roads today.
I say all this knowing that some small diesel cars are cheaper to buy than hybrids and are recording impressive miles per gallon. But you must then factor in the cost of expensive fuel and its availability. I am also unconvinced by electric cars as yet – from a cost and range point of view. Although I know from experience ‘never to say never’ when it comes to motoring!