Driving the brand

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Just before Christmas, Town and County Motor Centre, Nissan, very kindly handed us the keys of our new company car, the Nissan Pulsar, writes Business Cornwall’s Morveth Ward.

Having never purchased a new car before, I was surprised how easy the process was. Mick Wheeler, of Town and Country, seamlessly sorted everything and the car arrived within one month with no faff in between. We chose the Pulsar because on paper it fitted our demands well: Practical, economical, ‘dynamic’, reliable and ermm, friendly.

Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar

We decided on ‘Flame Red’ to reflect our brand and in actual fact this is the first branded car Business Cornwall has had. Deciding on whether or not to brand company vehicles really depends on the nature of your business.

It would be counterproductive to brand an earth warming gas-guzzler if you’re a renewable energy company however if you’re an investment service provider this may work well, showcasing your wealth and evidencing your expertise. It’s also pretty wise that you wouldn’t want to brand a banger and it also obligates you to keep the car clean (very difficult in Cornwall!) and make sure there are no empty fast food wrappers and coffee cups visible.

The overriding factor is that your vehicle must reflect the values of your brand.  The Pulsar suited us because it is essentially a vehicle with a clear purpose and is in no way ostentatious or OTT. For us having a physical presence in the business community is important and so a branded vehicle contributes towards raising our profile.

Like any advert each time someone from the business community sets eyes on the car our visual impression counter clocks up and a stamp has been made on someone’s sub-conscious and there’s always the chance it may trigger a call to action too.

The medium sized hatch-back market is a saturated and competitive one and Nissan have not directly competed in this area of the market since production of the Almera ceased in 2006. So really the release of the Pulsar last year was a big moment for Nissan. Enter this market with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus amongst many others is like getting in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali etc(in their hay day).

Basically all the greats and I’m pleased to say that the Pulsar hasn’t been knocked out, I wouldn’t say it’s going in for the knock-out hits but it’s tactical and has weighed up the competition and it’s footwork is pretty good.

The Pulsar is a very decent car, most things you look for in a hatch-back this car does very well and stands up to the other vehicles in this class. It’s spacious, economical, stylish, well-equipped and well-priced. What I was hoping for is a bit of character, something which the Almera was entirely devoid of.

This Pulsar isn’t quite as exciting as it’s cousin in astronomy nor is it as exciting as the last Pulsar. The 90’s Nissan Sunny Pulsar was a homologation car which turned an ordinary hatch-back into a mad, granny on speed, racer fitted with a 220bhp 2L turbo charged engine and 4WD, built for rallying.

However, that is an extreme and I’m glad to say that this pulsar is a friendly little character! It is possible to extract a little fun out of its nimble chassis and the 1.5l diesel packs enough of a punch should you need it. In terms of being friendly, I just find it welcoming, it grins and the cockpit is a pleasant place to be. Hurray!

What this means is the Pulsar now appeals to a wider market, not just OAP’s, this has been assisted more generally by models such as the quirky Nissan Juke and the blisteringly fast and game-changing Nissan GTR (I will own one of these).

A big thank you to Town and Country Motor Centre from all at Business Cornwall and we look forward to our time with the Pulsar.

This article first appeared in the February issue of Business Cornwall magazine.