Question: what is the connection between Stella Artois and Infiniti? Judging by the bill to return the PH Fleet Infiniti to its original shiny condition, after a series of unfortunate incidents, it is because they share an ideology: reassuringly expensive (well they did until Stella dropped the slogan back in 2007).
But we honestly mean that as a compliment. As Apple has so effortlessly proven in recent years, people don’t mind paying a bit more for something if they think they’re getting something a bit special in return. And this seems to be Infiniti’s approach to customer care.
A bill totalling £2030 is not a small thing in anybody’s book, so you expect a fair degree of customer service, but even so the efficiency and quality of the Infiniti Centre Reading was jolly impressive. Even considering the fact that they knew who we were...
But I’m getting ahead of myself. You’ll want to know how we got to this point in the first place. Cue newest member of the PH office crew, American émigré and tech genius Matt Dell:
“I've always wanted to go to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed, but I never imagined that for my first time I would be driving a member of the PH Fleet. Granted, I was given the all-too-picked-on Almera, (sorry - Infiniti G37 S), but I was genuinely thrilled to be able to go.
“We started the morning by meeting up at a petrol station in southwest London where we filled up, coffeed up, and began our journey south. Shortly after we departed, somewhere on the A3, a football-sized (American type) piece of wood decided to pop off the back of a lorry, bounce onto the motorway, and directly into the space between the front grille and the bonnet on the Infiniti. To say it ruined my morning is a bit of an understatement considering the ‘briefing’ given to me by Riggers and Garlick the day before could be more or less summarised as ‘don't break anything’.
“I had no idea what the damage was (or if there even was any damage), but I was forced to press on, since I didn’t know where I was going and no one else had seemed to notice the incident. Despite the nagging fear that this might be the first and last time I would be given keys to a PistonHeads car, I began to rather enjoy driving the Infiniti.
“It could be because the G37S was developed for the American market and that I was born and raised there, but I do like the Infiniti. It's comfortable, well balanced, and powerful enough to have a good time in when a B-road presents itself. On top of that, the sat-nav seems incredibly good and has been able to navigate me in and out of London with ease. Aside from the automatic transmission and the admittedly bland exterior styling (my ‘modifications’ notwithstanding), I can't really fault it.”
So as well as it leaving an impression on him, our Mr Dell left an impression on it. But things weren’t over for poor L55 UST... A couple of weeks later a PH staffer (who shall remain nameless to save their blushes, but I promise you it wasn’t me) did what you might call ‘a number’ on one of the alloys against a kerb.
And then I arrived at the car one morning to find the driver’s side door mirror placed neatly on the bonnet, as opposed to attached to the car (hence the temporary bodge job you see in the pics, though I think the choice of ‘colour-matched’ gaffer tape was a fine one). A visit to the repair shop definitely beckoned.
Which is how we arrived at £2030 for (deep breath): removal of bonnet, offside mirror, front bumper, offside nearside front wing fittings and front headlamps, stripping down front bumper fittings including grille, repairing front edge of bonnet and front bumper, replace front bumper grille, top bumper seal clip and offside mirror unit, preparing and painting bonnet, front bumper and mirror casing, blending wings for colour match, refurbishing one alloy wheel, refitting and checking lights, mirror and parking sensor operation. And valeting the vehicle.
Like I said, the service was impeccable, too. The purple-tied Mr Infiniti Driver came to pick the car up on Tuesday, left me with an FX37 SUV to drive in the meantime (that’s the massive, cartoonish one) and returned the car on Friday. Beautifully valeted (that’s the car, not Mr Infiniti Driver).
Of course, in order to establish itself as a credible luxury brand, then Infiniti absolutely has to provide after-sales service that’s at least the equal of its competitors. Still, on the evidence of our experience with Infiniti centre Reading, that’s exactly it is doing. Not that we want to have to experience it again, of course, but that’s all down to Mr Dell’s ability to dodge errant pieces of wood...
PH Fleet Update: Infiniti G37 Coupe
PH Fleet Update: Infiniti G37 Coupe
PH Fleet: Infiniti G37 S Coupe