I had a passion and interest in cars since before I could drive one so I always considered people like Jeremy Clarkson very lucky as they spend their working life driving great cars and telling us what they think about them.
Being the director of a company who has a pool car I somehow appeared in the marketing list of potential buyers of cars for company purposes. I was nearly suspicious though when I received a phone call from someone claiming to be working for Lexus UK and offered me a luxury SUV to test. I even asked them to put in writing the offer as I was expecting to spot the catch; there wasn’t any.
I was confirmed in writing that I could borrow a Lexus RX450H (base value £50K, the model I tested was in fact around £65K) for two days, only paying for petrol, and I had to let them know what I think about it. So I completed the paper work and picked up the car which I used for two days for the usual usage I would normally use one of my vehicles.
The Lexus RX450H is a large SUV; it weighs well over two tonnes and it’s the size of a medium van, but with enough power to compete with some fast saloon or sports cars available. The hybrid solution allows using the electric motor for slow queueing and manoeuvres while the petrol engine starts whenever extra power is needed and, what it supplies, is always enough. I surely enjoyed the experience but probably would never buy this car because:
- It’s way (e.g. 4x) out of budget for my current need of a company pool car
- It’s way too big to be used in the average British town with narrow roads and tiny parking places
- I am not too keen to the hybrid solution which is, in my opinion, too complex albeit fascinating in terms of technology
I was a bit surprised about how relaxed everybody at Lexus was. Frankly I was expecting a questionnaire to be put before me when I dropped the car back or, eventually, an electronic version of it to be in my inbox once I got back to my office. None of the above; a very nice and gentle lady rang me about 2 weeks later asking very simple questions, nearly obvious, about the car. As I pointed out very soon in the conversation I was surely not in their target market as the cars I use as pool car for my company must be more practical and affordable than a top of the range SUV. Personally I would have preferred to give a feed back soon after the test as all feelings and impressions were fresh in my mind but two weeks later the feedback was simply factual.
I would like to thanks Lexus UK for the opportunity offered albeit I would suggest them to spend a bit more time in targeting their prospects as they could have never closed a deal with me. However they are probably benefitting of the little noise that I made by discussing this experience with some friends and colleagues, as well as I am now writing this post.