Spare Wars Episode IV

… in a galaxy far, far away …

It must be in a galaxy far, far away because the Stormtroopers of the evil empire of Jaguar Land Rover are clearly on a different planet from me.

OK, in Episode III [Ed: which, of course, hasn’t been written yet] we left customer Skywalker and the empire’s Mr. Stormtrooper in what appeared to be an infinite loop of contact:

  1. talk to Land Rover dealers
  2. talk to Jaguar Land Rover
  3. go to #1

This could go on for centuries.

Episode IV began very shortly after writing Episode III [Ed: ah, so time travel really is possible] when, having explained to Mr. Stormtrooper that phone contact with him would not be possible for a while, another holographic message from him arrived by Google droid. However, before I report its content, I must quote a section of my original email to lradvice@jaguarlandrover.com. I wrote:

On certain 180PS models there is an expensive option of a Heavy Duty Towing kit (<2500kg) which includes the much sought after full-sized spare. This option deletes the additional seating – excellent! – BUT … it appears to be available:

  • only with the automatic transmission and
  • only on an auto of trim level HSE or above – not on, for example, the SE Tech level.

Mr. Stormtrooper, expressly stating that he had read my emails, replied:

From the emails you have sent to me I have spoken to our retailers and I have been advised that with the Discovery Sport you can place an order with a full size spare wheel and heavy duty towbar. This, I have been advised is only available with the 180PS HSE version only.

Brilliant! Ungrammatical but brilliant. This is one of those classic “no shit, Sherlock” moments, it being one of the restrictions that I had mentioned to him. I was utterly gobsmacked. It’s a damn good job I wasn’t on a telephone.

Just to add insult to injury, he went on to explain that this startling new [NOT!] piece of helpful information came from my dealer #2, the one that had introduced me to the Heavy Duty Towing Kit in the first place.

Customer Skywalker rejoined:

Well Mr. Stormtrooper,

This is quite astonishing – one could almost say unbelievable. I told you that.

[Here I quoted my original email, to refresh his memory.]

So, all you have done is to quote my own words back at me. You’ve added precisely nothing. Furthermore, you’ve done it from one of the very dealers I’d already spoken to.

What I wanted to know is, why cannot the Heavy Duty Towing Kit be placed on a 180PS SE Tech, for example. It seems like an arbitrary restriction. Land Rover clearly has the ability to rip out the 5+2 seating and stick in the towing kit. I wanted to know it could do it. What I fail to comprehend is why these seemingly illogical restrictions exist and, unless “lradvice@jaguarlandrover.com” can go direct to the horse’s mouth, to those building the cars and setting the restrictions, what purpose does it serve? “lradvice@jaguarlandrover.com” approaching the dealers is entirely the wrong way around, it is they who should be approaching you.

The difference between a 150PS car, which can have a full-sized spare, and a 180PS car is, I suspect, just an engine management chip – it’s the same 2-litre diesel engine.

My frustration with Land Rover increases with each contact. Put this together with a series of seemingly irrational design issues involving spare wheels, tow bars and exhaust systems, and my love for the Discovery Sport rapidly dissipates. What a crying shame.

Still, there is a positive side to this sorry tale. Having owned several piles of British crap in my youth, about 35 years ago I vowed never again to buy a British car. I’m not convinced there is such a beast these days, aside from minor small specialist companies, but I was beginning to weaken there, just for a moment. My resolve is now re-invigorated.

Finally, with the benefit of hindsight, I should have chosen Spare Wars as my tongue-in-cheek pun title rather than Going Spare, though my feeling of being on a war footing didn’t come until later. Maybe I’ll go back and rename them. 😉

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2 comments on “Spare Wars Episode IV
  1. BlasR says:

    I think you need an hour or so in a cool, dark room with an ice pack over your eyes. Alcohol would only get you even more excited, so do not even consider it. On no account must you be able to hear traffic cos that could also get you more excited.

    I suggest the Land Rover chap needs an icebucket completely over his head….permanently.

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