Intangibles… or, What Makes Your Vehicle “Yours”?

22 Nov

We recently received an email from a potential customer we’d spent a considerable amount of time with; a man in search of a new car for his wife. The letter was lovely, appreciative… and apologetic. Because while he had considered all the cars we’d shown him to be excellent choices, she had not fallen in love with any of them.

“Love” is one of those words you could define for the rest of your life and never unravel its essence. When it comes to “loving” a hunk of steel on four wheels (or two… motorcycle lovers are a loyal breed) there are the pragmatic issues: Can I afford it? How’s the gas mileage? Is there seating for the whole family? There are the aesthetic issues: Do I like the way it looks? Does the color fit my personality? Will the beige interior stain when the kids spill grape juice? And then there’s the grand intangible: Does it feel like me?
There are those who say a vehicle “fits” them if they can afford it and it meets certain rational needs like towing capacity, payload, comfort. But others of us look for the *irrational*. I’ve driven – and enjoyed – lots of cars and trucks and, if given the option of having more than one set of wheels in my driveway, I might even consider signing on the dotted line. But just because I have fun in, and appreciate the many attributes of, a vehicle does NOT mean I’d want to own it. I know what I’m looking for, and it’s not stuff that can be explained (see http://butlerautogroup.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/left-brain-or-right-brain-which-side-makes-your-vehicle-decisions/) although I do have to like the way it drives, feel safe and comfortable, and be able to afford the payments (guess the the Batmobile’s out of the picture). Other features, like power windows, I can live without. I’m looking for something low-maintenance, fun-driven, adventurous, durable… kinda like a Tonka truck. What makes a vehicle feel like it fits you? What’re your intangibles?