Dunedin was fun, as usual. The adventures were non-stop, but this year I had the added pleasure of renting a car.
Last year, Cooke Howlison BMW gave me a 320i sedan to use, and it wound up getting a ﬂat tyre. This year, the same car was assigned to the folks at Sky and Prime TV, whom I understand put it to good use.
Therefore, on Friday, I had planned to take the Hong Kong contestants at the Emerging Designers’ Awards out, since they had come all this way and had hardly any contacts. They didn’t take me up on my offer, but it was just as well that I did get a car.
I called Avis, as I normally do, and when it was ascertained that there was a city-based agency (the website only lists the airport), I hired a mid-sized vehicle (of Camry size).
When I called up again, I was told that the mid-sized car was unavailable, but I had been ‘upgraded’ to a Toyota RAV4. I said, ‘I am a heterosexual man. I can’t drive that.’ The alternative was, according to Avis, a Holden Viva, a smaller car. I grudgingly said that I could accept a Daewoo Lacetti, which the Viva really was. I can’t bring myself to even call it a Holden.
Fast forward to Saturday morning (since Avis needs a day’s warning down in Dunedin). I saw a red Lacetti in the drive. It looked nice, though I know Daewoos to be comparatively underdeveloped compared to western cars. There is a reason the Lacetti was withdrawn from the New Zealand market in 2003: it was a load of junk and the public hated it. Slapping a Holden badge on to it made little difference.
Thankfully, I was told by the Avis rep at the Moray Motel that I had a Ford Focus. I was grateful. Picking up Doug Rimington, our photographer, we went off to Mt Cargill so he could take some pics. I ran into an OAP from outside Glasgow who had hired a Corolla. She had, she old me, rented a Lacetti earlier in her holiday, in the North Island, but that she refused to take another when arriving in the South.
So, an OAP, who may well have owned a Mini Metro some time in her life, hated the Lacetti.
You don’t hear that comment about the Lacetti’s predecessor in this market, the Polish-made Opel Astra Classic.
And when I learned that some friends here wound up with the godawful Daewoo Kalos as their rental, I felt very concerned that Holden would dare jeopardize their lives.
I can’t bring myself to like Holden these days. I ﬁnd nothing appealing about the range other than its full-size cars. And that means it can’t really pass a deﬁnition as a ‘range’, where one gets a taste of higher model by sampling a lower one. If you started off with the Kalos or the Lacetti, you would automatically think that the billion-dollar-developed Commodore was a load of junk. When you hear that the Commodore’s sales aren’t as good as they should have been in 18 months’ time, then the lack of consideration of the entire Holden range and complementary models must take part of the blame. Posted by Jack Yan, 07:35
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