Meeting the team
Introducing you to Nicky Phillips (39)
Nicky has been with Luscombe for just 14 weeks. She works part-time within a team of three staff providing Sales Administration duties for the busy Suzuki dealership, while also learning about Mitsubishi, to extend her future duties to the sister franchise.
Married, with two boys (aged 11 and 5 years), Nicky’s life is taken up by family and work…sometimes not in that order. Yet, she also finds time to indulge in running and has contested three 10k races so far. She tells me that she intends to do more.
Her previous employer, for much of her working life, was with a major Volvo dealership and the main difference between it and her current role is how much busier Suzuki is by comparison.
All too often, backroom staff are the unsung heroes of dealership activities. However, one of the most noticeable aspects of Nicky’s brief experience of Luscombe’s business lies in the fact that she has already been involved in discussions with Robin Luscombe, the company boss. In all the time she worked at a Volvo franchise, she never once met a senior family member of the ‘big name’ dealership. Nicky loves the impression that she is valued and very much engaged as a part of a family-owned business that cares as much about its staff, as it does its customers.
Luscombe’s summary: We recognise that we have a dedicated team member in Nicky. She works very efficiently in our office, ensuring that the ordering of customer cars and the associated paperwork is completed as seamlessly as possible.
Next week: Iain introduces you to Stacey Reed, who works at both Luscombe Suzuki and Mitsubishi.
It is never too late to contemplate your car’s tyres
As an avid fan of fitting his car with seasonal tyres, Iain Robertson explains why he was an early adopter in the UK, via the experience of a couple of European ice-race trophies and living in the north of Canada during his youth.
We all know the aeons-old story of ‘leaves on the line’, which rail commuters are forced to swallow every autumn and winter. Yet, the Internet gives us access to amazing footage shot on North American and northern European railways, with trains literally ploughing through deep snow, while remaining ‘on time’.
Naturally, it raises a question about how ‘wimpy’ are our train-drivers? Mind you, the same applies to car drivers, especially those in the south of the country, where roads can become totally ensnared by wildly abandoned motor vehicles, even though less than an inch of the white stuff may have fallen. To be fair, with the UK’s maritime climate, the quality of our ice and snow is markedly different to that of almost any country in the world.
It is a seasonal issue. As Robin Luscombe may tell you, if you ever natter with him about his competitive motorbike trialling, having access to the right tyres for purpose are the key to maintaining progress, even in the worst imaginable conditions. As a student residing in Canada, I discovered that the most effective way to remain out of roadside ditches in winter was to clad the car’s wheels in Mud & Snow tyres (that was all that was available).
In my 20s, as an amateur rallyist and racer, I also discovered the value of studded winter tyres, when claiming occasional trophies in the Italian and French ice-racing championships. The spring-loaded metal studs (road-illegal in the UK) provided remarkable traction, even on a shiny surface of tightly compressed snow.
Today’s winter tyres, or low-temperature covers, as I prefer to call them, are technologically brilliant. They are not chunky, like a Land Rover’s tyres, although their tread patterns are self-cleaning, designed to stop snow from building-up in the blocks and thus making them less grippy than driving on slicks in torrential rain.
Instead, they are designed from the outset to provide grip and traction in adverse conditions. Being produced of a rubber compound that is more flexible at lower temperatures than summer tyres (which become harder in the cold and lose the flexibility that provides grip) as well as benefiting from a different carcass construction, while they will not allow the driver to be cocky and defeat the Laws of Physics, they can bring your car to a halt in a much shorter and safer distance, which could pay dividends in shopping centre car parks, or outside schools, where avoiding clashes with people are more prevalent.
On the open road, low-temperature tyres also provide more assured handling and allow you to thread your way past all those vehicles ‘stranded’ on icy, or snow-covered, surfaces. It is worth highlighting that they also work exceptionally well on damp winter roads, due to their ‘softer’ and more compliant tread patterns. Of course, driving at speeds relevant to the adverse conditions is vital but you will be able to reach home and the driveway both safer and in better time.
The elephant in the room relates to the added costs. You can obtain a new set of ‘winter tyres’ for your car for little more than £200. Bear in mind that your summer tyres will not be worn, while the winter tyres are fitted. In addition, you could use the winter covers for up to six, or seven, years in succession. If you drive to the Continent for ski holidays, they are compulsory fitments anyway.
I have been using low temperature tyres on each of my cars in the UK for the past 35 years. They are more plentiful in supply these days and the prices have reduced a lot. I cannot recommend them highly enough, whether for front, rear, or all-wheel-drive cars.
Luscombe’s summary: If you want to be safer on winter ravaged roads, fit winter tyres. If you ask our Service Advisor, you will be provided with all the assistance you need.
Next week: Iain considers the value of Suzuki’s speech activated dashboard (on SZ5 and some SZ-T models).
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