December 02, 2008

All That Glisters...

What is it with Nissan Gold Standard?

On the surface, it kind of makes sense: A network of Nissan dealers setting new standards for second-hand cars and guaranteeing "quality, reliability, excellence and peace of mind when you buy a used car". Scratch that surface however, and the shiny veneer wears thin.

Because, you see, a Nissan Gold Standard car may be a Ford. Or a Mazda. Or a Toyota.

Because Nissan don't mean a Nissan Gold Standard Nissan car. They mean any car that's been put through a "rigorous multipoint check" by a Nissan dealer.

Which means you might get a Nissan Gold Standard Toyota car or a Nissan Gold Standard Volkswagon car. Which tells us more about the standards of a Nissan dealer than it does a Nissan car.

But didn't selling cars on the basis of 'quality, reliability, excellence and peace of mind' go out with other quaint advertising gambits like promising '0 to 60 in under 6 seconds'?

And don't NCT (National Car Test) testers also put cars of a certain age through a "rigorous multipoint check" every couple of years?

So what do I get when I buy a Nissan car, new or used? The Nissan Gold Standard sells me an impressive promise of dealership. But it confuses my sense of what makes a Nissan car.

Because almost every car nowadays is sold to required standards of quality, reliability and excellence and the Nissan Gold Standard suggests that every car is somehow born equal (dangerous if you're planning to persuade a buyer on the merits of a new Nissan as against one of its competitors) or can be made equal once a Nissan dealer puts their shine on it.

But the Nissan Dealer is forgetting something that everyone else knows: All of the elbow grease in the world doesn't turn base metal to gold.

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