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May 2016

The Bellinghman
Date: 2006-09-27 23:54
Subject: Am I mad?
Security: Public
I've been considering replacing my car for a while. My present one, an 2.6 litre Audi A4 SE, I bought second hand some 8 years ago, and I've done over 100,000 miles in it. It's done an excellent job, being delightfully reliable, and the major costs have been replacing the front suspension links, which on the Audi A4 will need replacing at 100,000+ miles. Oh, and it's nicely solid - it shrugged off the BMW 5 Series that wrote itself off trying to ram its way in through the driver side door while I was doing motorway speeds. (Though that may have caused those suspension links to wear out a little earlier.)

I hired a Rover 75 for the Dublin trip about 10 days ago, and it was really quite nice, in an unexpected sort of way, especially considering the car in question was a diesel automatic, and a little underpowered (hire companies aren't going to buy the hot engined cars). On Wicklow mountain roads, it stuck to the tarmac like glue, and was one of the nicest driving cars I've been in (I fell in love with my Audi after 50 miles in the driver's seat), while being rock solid on the Irish motorways.

Today, I passed its cousin on the way to the pub at lunchtime. The dealership across from our offices has one for sale, new, for a quite reasonable price. Only, it's not a 75, it's an MG ZT+ 180, which is the sporty rebadged version, with the better ride, bigger discs on the bakes, etc. etc. And it's still remarkably unremarkable - it really doesn't look much different, except for the subliminal rear spoiler, the MG badges, and the 18" alloy wheels (apparently, smaller wheels wouldn't accomodate those brake discs ...). I think it's a very pretty car, in a classic Bentley/Jaguar sort of way.

Checking out the reviews, they say lots of nice things about it. The biggest complaints are:
  1. Firm ride. I like a firm ride, and some reviews have counted this as a plus.

  2. Not enormously fast. Well, 140 mph top speed will do me, and a 0-60 of sub 9 seconds is not at all bad for an automatic saloon.

  3. Depreciation. It's one of the fastest depreciating cars (so bad news new, excellent news second hand) around, wedged in with the Aston Martin Vantage and Jaguar X-Type.
Well, I can understand the last part - not only is this model no longer being made, its manufacturer doesn't exist any more. (However, Nanjing Automobile might restart production of the 75*.)

The one on offer is, though, not at full list price. It's at about 30% off, so the usual new car "the value dropped 30% the moment I drove it off the forecourt" syndrome should be tempered somewhat.

Indeed, checking out the prices of second-hand ones on Yahoo, there's a four year old ZT (not the ZT+) on offer for the same price. (A 4 year old car with 30 miles on the clock? What happened, they registered it, and it then got walled in when they rebuilt their showroom?)

Am I mad to go for this? If I buy this and run it for 5 years, I reckon the per-year depreciation should be perfectly acceptable - I do much less mileage than I used to, so it'd be a low mileage sale. And it's not as though it's going to be impossible to keep going - there are a lot of places around that will be able to service it, and parts won't disappear that fast with the number that were built.

So, I'm extremely tempted. Of course, I'll have to try it out, and all sorts of things might scupper it. But I reckon it could be a really nice car.

I've never bought a new car before.

*OK, maybe not. However, Nanjing bought the Rover company, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp bought the copyright for the 75, and Ford has just bought the Rover name. Confused? You will be.
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User: perdita_fysh
Date: 2006-09-28 09:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've always liked the Rover 75, I like different looking cars and I like classic looking cars. People have always talked me out of looking at them seriously though, suggesting the build quality is rubbish.

We looked at Rover briefly on my marketing strategy course, incidentally. Our lecturer had worked with them and failed to persuade them that seeing their market as having three segments (small cars, medium sized cars and large cars) was rather too narrow minded! Bad marketing doesn't mean bad build though.

If you've googled hard on issues with them and only come up with that list, I think you would be wise to go with it - and let me know how it goes! I do still like those.

I've bought three new cars now, each time with a discount of similar proportions. I too feel that as long as they stand the depreciation hit instead of me, then why not?
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-09-29 09:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thanks - nice to know I'm not entirely mad.

As far as I can see, the build quality and reliability seems to be perfectly fine. Since this will be new, and therefore have a three year warranty, and they're close enough I can almost see them from here (only Hotel Chocolat blocks the sight line in that direction), it shouldn't be a problem if any teething problems do arise.
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