Going around the country, examining garages, one wonders if the likes of Toyota was in charge of this little island if things would be a lot different.
This question arose as we approached Toyota dealer Swinford Motors. On the day of our visit a colleague remarked upon the standards of Toyota garages in general. Seemingly, most of them made the best of the good times as many of the Toyota garages we visited are modern new infrastructures. They are seen to have invested for the future.
Would Swinford live up to expectations? As we all know, modern garages can have gold-plated taps in the toilets, floor tiles you can see yourself in and hi-tech coffee machines.
But it all counts for nothing if the people within don't make their mark.
We strolled around the garage forecourt, saw the VTN test centre and found a selection of well-presented and clean cars. Most were Toyotas and all were priced. We noticed plenty of customer parking, including a disabled parking area, before entering the showroom.
We were in pursuit of a fresh, used-diesel Corolla.
For the short time it took to be served we checked out within.
Like those outside, the dozen cars were priced and carried details. Again we found a showroom of high standard where thought and care had been put into presentation.
A lady came over to us and offered to make us tea and get assistance.
The toilets were high quality, brochures were in place, the customer waiting area was comfortable and well-stocked and there was a special area for smaller children.
John Mulligan came to help and we told him of our interest.
He had no used Corolla diesels but he had two, 2010 registered, five-door Auris models in Aura and Terra trim. He explained they were ex-lease cars and invited us out to see them.
Indeed they were fresh, both had 20-odd thousand kilometres on their clocks. Other than this and the number plates, it would be hard to differentiate new from used such was the condition of both the black Aura and silver Terra cars.
Asking John for his best price he offered them to us at €19,500 and €18,500 respectively. This would represent a saving on a similar, discounted-priced, new version of €1800.
At the time we did not see John's offer as overly tempting, but then again if one had a trade-in the story would be different as the prices shown were for straight deals.
Returning to the showroom, we picked up a used and new-car price list and John's business card. Interestingly, Swinford Motors had also another price list showing the full list of scrappage offers. Models from the Aygo to Avensis were represented.
The used cars on the price list, with 51 listed, also deserves credit in its own right. The list showed reg, make, model, engine, body type, colour, km, price, NCT and road tax prices.