Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Bentley Garage

My drive to work each morning takes me past a Bentley Garage. It is a thing of wonder: calm, polished and full of beautiful cars. Really beautiful cars.

As I queue with the rest of the traffic to get past the roundabout I watch their morning routine – the cars are slowly driven out onto the forecourt and lined up. Quietly, unhurried but in perfect alignment: simple and stylish.

When I drive past I always subconsciously think “ah – how the rich live…” but more recently I have been wondering who would actually buy a Bentley these days. They are lovely, but they do about 12mpg and chuck out over 3 times the emissions of my little car. Admittedly they get well over 3 times the admiring glances, but I wonder if that is likely to change.

I’ve heard that the waiting lists for the Toyota Prius is getting so long they will be delivering into next year. It has been massively popular in Japan, far exceeding Toyota’s expectations. I hope this is the way of the future – a leaner, 72 mpg car that cares for the environment, not just its sleek lines.

Am I passing a garage full of white elephants? Or will it take a great deal more to convince the wealthy to kick their oil-hungry habits?

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