The car as a dog

Carsguide ·

12 January 2013

The car as a dog

The original Holden Camira fell to bits during my preview drive in outback Queensland and, much more recently, the Chery J1 set a howling new personal low in motoring.

I'm not surprised the Chery is now being re-honed for $9990 including on-road costs, which means it's really about an $8500 car. Chery says it's a great deal but it's not a car I would remotely recommend to a friend. In fact, the J1 is a car we should all avoid.

It might be new, and it might have a warranty, and it might have some nice-looking equipment - including power steering, aircon and remote keyless entry - but it's a car you would need to tie up at night.

Which reminds me of Chano Trentin. He's a car dealer in outback Queensland who has seen his share of dogs. But Chano saw a bunch of other livestock when he was getting established as one of Australia's first Suzuki dealers.

He once took six pigs as a trade-in on a baby Suzuki four-wheel drive and also remembers taking cows and cattle as part-exchange on cars. Things have changed since then, and Chano is now retired as his dealership in Atherton.

But he obviously laid the right foundations as it is celebrating a golden milestone in 2013 and, after 50 straight years, is recognised as having the longest continous history outside Japan.

But I cannot shut the gate without recalling another animal trade-in story, with a big twist. When Holden was getting established in the Middle East the company's sales and marketing boss, Ross McKenzie, led a team that visited to get things moving.

One of his staff, Megan Stooke, was early into a successful career that now sees her occupying a senior slot at General Motors in Detroit. She obviously made an impact, as one of the newly-appointed Holden dealers came to McKenzie with an intriguiging proposition. He wanted to know how many camels and goats it would take for him to release her from Holden, so she could move to the Middle East to join him.

This reporter is on Twitter @paulwardgover
 

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Published 12 January 2013