Tricks of the Motor Trade

Sir,

I look forward to reading the result of your meeting with Lord Stokes and know that the idiots who buy foreign cars will be interested in the answers given to your very searching questions.

Perhaps you will allow me to deal with Mr. Burke, the Plymouth dealer who has given so much of the game away in his facts about exchange prices for English and foreign second-hand cars.

The principle behind the dealer's book of second-hand trade allowances against a new car (not for a cash sale) is to protect the dealer and not the motorist. This system, which has been declared an illegal restraint in the selling of new cars, is still persisted in by the Motor Trade and is just another facet of their very dubious "service" to the public, along with their shocking repair system.

A foreign car may cost more, mainly because of the extra tariff imposed to protect our reliable British car manufacturers, but the trick of using cost instead of value is wearing a little thin even amongst the uninformed public. If the life of the car is taken into account when buying a foreign car instead of a British one the slight extra initial cost (less margin each year) far outweighs the fictitious depreciation figures supplied by a biased source, if a car can be reliably used for four or more years. It is still possible to invest in the type of car I drive and get long life with economy and efficiency, plus comfort and good roadholding and steering.

Any advantage that the British car had in spares service has now been lost in the latest system devised by the accountants (the biggest menace to motorists and the general public since the 1950s) with their six weeks delivery, centralised supply system.

To offset the tricks of the British car dealers is becoming increasingly easier, with more agencies for foreign cars being set up where a fair exchange price can be obtained from people who know the real value of what they are selling; and who try harder with repairs and service because they use honest endeavour rather than tricks of the trade to keep their businesses going.

Mr. Burke has certainly put the case of the British and foreign car in its proper perspective; it all depends who reads his "facts" and how they are construed, God help him and his suppliers if the full force of Common Market competition ever hits them.

J. C. ARMSTRONG – Pwllheli.