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What car did you use for visiting clients etc

Pre covid

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I'm "into" my cars and have a few but for business stuff I have been using a Fiesta, it was brand new when I got it 3 years ago and I like the fact it's fun to drive but not flashy in the slightest. I’ve been going with new but cheap cars, you can’t turn up in a total shed.

Now the current work horse is 3 years old I'm thinking of getting something else which could be a new Fiesta ST, Tesla, Golf R the usual suspects etc but I have been eyeing up a 718 Cayman but I don't want clients thinking I'm over charging though.

I know a few accountants who like their cars and one has a high end Merc as he thinks it makes him look successful and professional. The others haven’t really shied away either.

So I ask what do you drive for business trips and specifically to clients?

Replies (57)

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By Hugo Fair
16th Mar 2021 22:04

Surely rather depends on your typical/target client-type?
HNW individuals probably warrant at least the Cayman ... but corporate clients won't enjoy seeing you in something noticeably higher specc'ed than the FD's carriage ... and the agricultural crowd will feel safe if you shed mud on their drive ... and so on.
Broadly, most people like 'people like them' - but may recognise 'their professional' as deserving the respect to be driving the car they'd like to buy next!
Of course the same applies to dentists, solicitors and other professionals ... one of whom I know has a really expensive car but always parks it a mile+ away from the client and then takes a taxi for the last bit (so avoiding this dilemma)!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
Slim
By Slim
16th Mar 2021 22:24

Like it, multiple cars.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
16th Mar 2021 22:36

Various over the years but tended to be much older vehicles, so at one point a 1991 Mercedes 300 Estate (seven seater- think it is in my photo above), catch would be it is in the photo circa 15-18 years old and the auto box then went driving from Sweden to Esjberg, but a great car re load carrying on holiday in Europe, eating up the miles. There were then two other older Merc Estates a C180 and a C220, not so great, the C180 pretty basic the 220 all leather, aircon and pretty comfortable. In amongst this I acquired my Scimitar SS1 1987 2 seater sports car (when I actually had it running-I still own this one, it will never be sold), and before all these there was an Escort Eclipse, Granada 2.0E, older Vauxhall Carlton and a Rover 620i; the Escort Eclipse is the only one I now regret selling

I always preferred the frugal image, older cars, someone else takes the depreciation, a pound in my bank account is better than a newer car.

Current car is an ageing Mini Countryman AWD 2.0 Diesel, it is now 9 years old, has only done about 40k, full leather, not a mark on the paintwork , then again I no longer have clients so nobody to impress or otherwise. Our second car is a Fiat 500 1.2 POP ,bought way back in 2009 when they were released, badly made but fine for town and still only about 45k on the clock, my wife tends to use this one as she does not like the overweight Countryman.

Of course pre working in practice I had the best cars of my life , a Mark 1 Cortina in very poor repair followed by a Mark 1 Escort with really low mileage, the latter got to about 16 years old when it was sold for £80(I really regret these now given what they now sell for)

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By SXGuy
17th Mar 2021 06:50

Purchased a jaguar XE 25t a few years ago. Love it. Although with hindsight maybe should have gone with the XF as I was used to having a larger car. Previous was a 5 series BMW.

But im making use of the petrol power for a few years before were all told we are naughty boys and should drive electric.

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By OldParkAcct
17th Mar 2021 08:01

Tesla works because it doesn’t look extravagant, and you can always explain it costs less than a Passat after tax.

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By paulwakefield1
17th Mar 2021 08:29

I always go by motorcycle unless there is lying snow or black ice. Apart from the fact it's a lot more fun, traffic holdups are rarely an issue. It is also a great escape from the angst of work because you have to concentrate and there are no distractions like radio or phone (I know some do have them plumbed into their helmets but that is something I deliberately avoid).

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By tom123
17th Mar 2021 08:37

Strictly former eastern bloc here - I have a Skoda Fabia and Dacia Logan.

I do 'like' cars - but always a bit left field if I can.

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Replying to tom123:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
17th Mar 2021 08:42

Old rear engined Skodas are now sought after, if you can find one. I remember all the Ladas disappearing becuase they were worth more in Russia.

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
17th Mar 2021 08:39

Fiesta just suggests you are a junior. Just kidding. In the same way that an MX5 would shout hairdresser..

I was contemplating a new car, but I didn't do massive mileage pre-Covid and its likely to stay that way. Electric is attractive of course with negligible BIK, so a Jaguar iPace is tempting ... but then I saw a Polestar2, but I won't buy Chinese (haven't forgiven them for MG and Covid). I then looked at PHEVs and although Jag and Land Rover have ones with close to 40 miles electric range the BIK even at 10-12% is a turnoff on a £45K car.

So I think I'll stick with my old BMW X3 for as long as it is allowed to belch diesel fumes (fear not cyclists, it has a DPF, recently unblocked), its fairly classless and respectable enough, most clients don't see the car anyway. In the summer I might find a convertible to compensate for limited holidays. Stags are still reasonably affordable and there are cheap modern options like Saabs and Jaguar XKs.

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By Charityguy
19th Mar 2021 10:03

"(haven't forgiven them for MG and Covid)" very "trumpist" (racist). The Chinese Virus!

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By memyself-eye
17th Mar 2021 08:52

I use my wife's Hyundai i10 (£120 insurance and £20 RFL) as my MGBGT is 'sans fuel tank' and i've not got round to fitting the new one.

I never used it much when it wasn't leaking....

I'll fix it in April - 14 days to go.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Mar 2021 08:52

I never visit clients now so not an issue, but I did have a "hide round the corner" issue for a while with my old Mondeo when I used to visit clients 10+ years ago as it was worthless and it always seemed incurious to quote more in fees than my car is worth. Currently have a 15 year old Jag (bought 5 years old) into which I have put 2 fill-ups in 12 months. My wife's car is equally ancient. My gardener has a classic car, and on the odd occasion a client pops round they assume that's mine.

if i was buying now, I would probably get a 3-5 year old premium model BMW/Audi etc which says "successful but thrifty enough not to buy a new car". but not worth it given I have done about 300 miles in 12 months!

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Bobbo
17th Mar 2021 13:01

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

if i was buying now, I would probably get a 3-5 year old premium model BMW/Audi etc which says "successful but thrifty enough not to buy a new car". but not worth it given I have done about 300 miles in 12 months!

This is pretty much what I did just over 12 months ago. Bought a 3 year old Audi and its primary function has been as an expensive driveway decoration.

To be fair, as I had written off my car I did have to buy something.

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
17th Mar 2021 08:58

I did worry about this when I had a Range Rover but the truth is I don't think anyone cared. And now I'm older (and balder) I am able to pull up in my BMW Z4 with the roof down as I totally fit the demographic of a 'sports car' driver.

Of course, what the clients say about me behind my back is another matter!

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By Geoff56
17th Mar 2021 09:01

23 year old Merc that I have owned for 16 years. The exterior is very, very tatty but the interior is excellent. I love it and it's like driving an armchair. I will keep it until it gives up the ghost.

I do get slightly embarrassed if I visit a client but fortunately, most if not all of my clients don't care two hoots what I drive. At least it is in keeping with their (expressed) view that my fees are very reasonable.

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By Mr_awol
17th Mar 2021 09:01

330e

Couple of years old now but balances daily drive economy/low key appearance with being ‘nice’.

It may get replaced with an i4 eventually.

That’s a point. I know ‘cars’ are excluded from super-deduction but need to double check whether that’s a blanket restriction (probably) or whether the extension of FYAs on certain cars let’s them creep back in (I doubt it).

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By Piltdown Man
17th Mar 2021 09:12

Second-hand Porsche 911 turbo. Bought 5 years ago for £45k. Done 50,000 miles and current value circa £42k. Am quite happy with that level of depreciation and have probably spent less on it than if I had bought a new VW Golf. Always worried about what some clients might think. Immediately forget about that worry when I get behind the wheel. I decided to buy a car to please me, not my clients. I'm only here once and I like cars! My clients know that my fees are competitive and are happy with my service level. Never had one suggest (to my face!) that they must be paying too much. Probably all tell each other the hedgehog joke behind my back ...

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Replying to Piltdown Man:
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By alialdabawi
17th Mar 2021 10:23

What is the hedgehog joke?

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Replying to alialdabawi:
By Duggimon
17th Mar 2021 10:42

What's the difference between a Porsche and a hedgehog?

A hedgehog has pr*cks on the outside.

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By Truthsayer
17th Mar 2021 09:28

Over the years I have used cheap bicycles, small motorcycles, and a couple of Micras over 20 years old. Nobody gives a flying whatsit over what you arrive in, so don't bother thinking about it.

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By Crouchy
17th Mar 2021 09:42

When possible I go by push bike

Due to being a bit of sh4gger, I have a people carrier to transport my many children, if someone wants to judge me on that, that's their issue not mine

personally I couldnt care less about cars, its a strictly A to B scenario for me.

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By ospevack
17th Mar 2021 09:44

I've heard both sides of the argument over the years - expensive car = overcharging; expensive car = successful businessman. The comparisons are irrelevant now - the majority of cars bought are on HP - so no one knows whether its fully paid for.

If the price of your car is the reason for a client leaving then you probably haven't got the real reason. If they are into cars enough to notice it, they probably appreciate it - if they aren't into cars, it wont register.

Little point in overthinking it, get a car that you want, some of my clients have been 4+ hour drives in the past - I wouldn't want to do that commute in a car designed to pop to Tesco just in case a thrifty FD might take issue.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
17th Mar 2021 10:01

In the nineties I'd turn up in an old Maestro inherited from my Dad - he'd given it to my wife when we had our first child and she lost her company car, but somehow she'd commandeered my newish Volvo on safety grounds and I ended up in the old Maestro.

We moved house and I had a bit of cash left over, so I bought a nearly new XJ6 4 litre: a great white beast with a vintage oversized jaguar on the bonnet, amazing acceleration, and the overall appearance of a wedding car. Clients would give a low whistle and say things like "Hell, I'm in the wrong business!"; eventually - and here's the thing - some of the better payers became slow payers; and the slow payers stopped paying altogether.

So there you have it: based on my own experience, buy yourself a 718 Cayman and your clients will resent you for it. And that resentment will manifest itself in their reluctance to stump up.

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By Duggimon
17th Mar 2021 10:12

I have a Fiesta, which I love, but I make all my clients come to me, then bill them based on what they show up in.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Piltdown Man
17th Mar 2021 10:22

Genius!!

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By Cheshire
17th Mar 2021 10:34

BMW M4 convertible. Only had one client say 'Im paying you too much' but then pointed at his own car, an Audi TT and said 'I can afford you and you are worth it'. I did say 'feel free to go elsewhere'. My clients like my forthright approach, even if some others don't. Practice churn nil, unless I boot them out for being a PITA.

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By free-rider
17th Mar 2021 10:47

Tesla Model 3 which is not flashy and very cheap to run as well as low BIK. Makes a great opening for BIK conversations.

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Replying to free-rider:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
17th Mar 2021 11:36

Is that why you've called yourself free-rider?

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By Roland195
17th Mar 2021 10:54

I'm not sure all the conventional wisdom on this subject was ever actually true but it's much the same thing as the suit & tie vs polo shirt and old fashioned = respectable, dependable , modern = innovative dilemmas.

I vaguely recall a boy I trained with getting a hard time from the partners over the condition of his ancient car. He told them if they had such an issue with it that was compromising the firm's image, then they could supply him with a better one which went as well as you would expect.

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Replying to Roland195:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
17th Mar 2021 11:02

I wonder what vehicle would best reflect the Zoom era, the equivalent of shirt and tie but no trousers. Morris Minor pickup? L200 double cab?

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By Hugo Fair
17th Mar 2021 11:46

Now a little out-of-date, but in the mid-70s I had a 1954 LWB Humber Pullman limousine ... a gigantic black beast with 6 doors and room in the back for a sit-down picnic if it was raining outside.
But it wasn't designed with the driver in mind - so nearly 3 tons had to be managed without power-steering, whilst sitting on a hard bench (unlike the passengers) and hoping it didn't rain (as the windscreen wiper wasn't electric).
If I wore a peaked cap then the police in London would often wave me through - without seeing the flares and platform boots below eye-level!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
17th Mar 2021 13:52

Sounds a bit like the somewhat old Armstrong Siddley Vanden Plas my Dad had for a brief period in the 60s, this had a glass between driver and passengers and a somewhat novel pre selector gearbox.

Back then we lived in a house south west of Edinburgh at West Linton on an acre and a bit of ground with some outbuildings and when these older vehicles he bought packed up, as they invariably did, they just got parked up and another was acquired, the plus point was the non working cars were great for a five year old to play in.

I suspect with hindsight disposing of them when we sold up and moved into Edinburgh in 1966 worked out as quite an expensive mistake but back then you could apparently pick up these older vehicles for next to nothing.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Hugo Fair
17th Mar 2021 17:00

Similar vintage and long-gone lifestyle. The Humber also had a sliding glass partition to enable privacy for the passengers from the chauffeur's waggling ears. It cost me £400 - which was a lot given that 5 years earlier that was my annual salary as a trainee book-keeper (on the old Kalamazoo paper system) - but I managed to sell it for exactly the same price in the early '80s (nil depreciation!) because, despite no MoT by then, someone wanted the reg plate (MFH 54).
Lots of hairy stories where that car takes the leading role - some not suitable for publication, and none honestly relevant to this thread!

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By Roland195
17th Mar 2021 12:35

I suspect it may be the case shortly wear a man dressed in jeans & a band T-shirt (that is not being worn ironically) has to have a quiet word with a junior over their appearance - the full three piece suit with square & pocket watch is not in keeping with the standards of the firm.

No doubt said junior will interpret this is sartorial abuse as some kind of assault & instruct legal proceedings accordingly.

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Replying to Roland195:
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By OldParkAcct
17th Mar 2021 11:10

Had the opposite happen with one of my fellow trainees in the 80s. He used to turn up to work in an old rusty Cortina, with endless jokes about whether if he was ever late about the reliability of the car. I happen to see him one weekend getting out of a Merc SL... his dad it transpired owned a large amount of HK real estate and had brought the car for him as a reward for getting a trainee placement, but he didn't want the partners at work to know so brought the Cortina for work.

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By Cazzie B
17th Mar 2021 11:11

I have a white 30 year old 4ltr Jaguar XJS ( had 16 years and take it to shows) and also a 5ltr super charged Jaguar XFR. Both have increased in value since purchase.

We have quite a few clients who also have classic cars, so it nice to have a common interest and sometime pass on tickets to shows, when we have some free ones spare

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Replying to Cazzie B:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
19th Mar 2021 11:25

I sold my XFR last year it, fantastic car but I found it impossible to enjoy the performance, where I live the roads aren't suitable and if I went on the motorway I just sat at 50 or 70. I'd be tempted by an F-pace V6 supercharged though.

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By Hugo Fair
17th Mar 2021 11:55

I've noticed how many posts not surprisingly mention in passing how few miles they drove last year ... and that this may continue. If so (and this is NOT an advert) then it might be worth looking at By Miles when your insurance renewal comes round.
As the name suggests, they'll work out a fixed amount with you for the year - which is much lower than normal - and a price/mile charge which will be billed monthly (using a satnav-like device). In my case this has reduced my total costs by over 50%, so worth a look.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Mr_awol
18th Mar 2021 12:24

I looked into that but their estimated total charge was more than i pay currently - certainly for my commuting car, particularly now ive been a bit more realistic with my mileage estimate for my traditional policy (i.e. rather than say 18k to be on the safe side, dropped it to 12k as it was an easy figure, and now dropped it to 8k as that's what i actually do.

Does ByMiles differentiate between business/SDP or is it all at the same rate?

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By Hugo Fair
18th Mar 2021 12:55

I don't know how they arrive at their quotes (or indeed if they differentiate between business/SDP but would expect them to do so). My understanding is that they arrive at the 'fixed amount' in the usual way (past history, location, etc) but set it a price for zero mileage - and then set a per-mile rate for any actual mileage (which is capped so you never pay for more than 150 miles a day).
In my recent renewal quote, this translates into £172 fixed (full NCD, clean licence, but central London, off-street parking etc) plus 3.3p/mile.
This meant that my (pre-Covid) estimate of 2-3,ooo miles p.a. resulted in a near 50% saving ... and with sub-100 miles last year an ever bigger saving!
Hope that helps - but I must stress that I'm not promoting or representing them.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
17th Mar 2021 11:58

A client saw a Porsche Boxster parked outside my house and asked if it was mine. No, mine's the old Toyota.

I don't think the car makes much difference.

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By John R
17th Mar 2021 15:46

Go for the Tesla - you only live once! I have a Model X and I love it.

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By Michael Davies
18th Mar 2021 10:44

On another point,my old firm use to pay 45p a mile to employees using their own car.One of us used his wife s BMW series 5,and we worked out his actual costs per mile were nearer £1.

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FirstTab
By FirstTab
19th Mar 2021 09:37

I walk, cycle, take the bus or uber. It is much easier to work this way. Do not care how clients see this.

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Replying to FirstTab:
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By wingman22
19th Mar 2021 11:58

I would as well but I think it depends where you and your client base live. I doubt you would arrive on time for meetings in rural Yorkshire depending on the weekly bus service. On the other hand a car really isn't needed if your based in central London.

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@enanen
By enanen
19th Mar 2021 10:15

It does not matter what you drive. The type and model of a car does not denote success. Look at your client base? It is all about the monthly payment, not ownership. If clients drive a Range Rover it is surprising how badly they are doing in reality. Debt hungry clients will sign for anything and no one correlates success with the car you drive. As long as it is reliable and goes. Get what you want for your own enjoyment. Keep the fiesta too, or get a company fiesta sport van for the client visits.

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Replying to enanen:
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By Mr_awol
19th Mar 2021 12:23

I agree completely that the type and model of car does not denote success - but i don't entirely subscribe the suggestion that the acquisition method has any negative connotations either . Yes it's on finance rather bought and paid for and although i no longer have any finance on vehicles (and have never leased) i have used HP in the past. I would consider leasing, especially for a car where it may be my only route to partial VAT recovery, if the numbers and the circumstances stacked up.

I have a few clients with leased RR Sports and whilst they 'only' lease them, those leases cost them well over £600 pcm and they are paying them year in year out.

At the end of

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Replying to enanen:
Melchett
By thestudyman
19th Mar 2021 13:02

enanen wrote:

It does not matter what you drive. The type and model of a car does not denote success. Look at your client base? It is all about the monthly payment, not ownership. If clients drive a Range Rover it is surprising how badly they are doing in reality. Debt hungry clients will sign for anything and no one correlates success with the car you drive. As long as it is reliable and goes. Get what you want for your own enjoyment. Keep the fiesta too, or get a company fiesta sport van for the client visits.

I agree but my eyes cannot unsee the words Land Rover and reliable in the same paragraph.

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7om
By Tom 7000
19th Mar 2021 10:44

BMW 650ci Msport.. got to get some wind through your hair, while you still have some :)

surprised you are not going 100% electric for the tax deduction... bye bye CT bill...

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By Husbandofstinky
19th Mar 2021 11:04

The classic right tool for the job scenario. Not bothered what others think, but I do try and apply the vehicle to the right crowd to avoid any potential issues:

Audi A6 (V6TDI)- now three years old. Just a non descript half decent wagon

Skoda Superb (slightly older) - More of an everyday motor and totally non descript

Toyota Avensis - Old but very clean and for those in less than desirable areas

Very middle of the road stuff and totally inoffensive at all levels in my books and always bought and paid for.

If I could justify a flash car it would have to be a Porker, would it see run outs to client's, proably not. Perhaps just a couple but then it all depends on your client base of course. Most of mine are just everyday Joe's and even those I can think of with £500k+ incomes don't have the uber flash motors (just newish X5's etc).

Yer pays yer money...

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