Reassurance from Vauxhall's Network Q
What's the main thing that buyers in the second hand market look for? You might say value for money but I reckon it has to be reassurance - the knowledge, no, more than that, the guarantee, that the car they are buying is as close to the standard of a new car as it can feasibly be.
That covers mechanical reliability, a thorough background check, safety, an assurance that the car is fit for sale and is backed by a proper warranty - not just one which ends as you drive off the forecourt! For the record, Network Q cars have a comprehensive warranty that uniquely includes brakes, clutches and battery for the first year or 20,000 miles.
Let's not forget that it isn't long ago that the Office of Fair Trading was laying into the used car market and some of the, shall we be generous, and say `lax' standards employed by some dealers! Even a second hand car is going to cost thousands of pounds so you need to feel that you're in good hands.
Nowadays there are lots of manufacturer-approved schemes at main dealers which give you this peace of mind but let's say happy birthday to the origin of the species, Vauxhall's Network Q programme which broke new ground when it was set up 20 years ago.
What Network Q did - and does - is let you buy a used car from a Vauxhall dealer with all the benefits that brings but at prices competitive with anything else in the independent used car sector. Being driven by the manufacturer means that generally high standards of car preparation and customer care have to be maintained and that's great news for the buyer.
Don't get me wrong, independent dealers can do a great job but there is something very comforting about buying from a franchised dealer. You just know that you are getting a solid, sound car which represents good value rather than a lemon and that there is proper back-up in place to look after you during your ownership of the vehicle.
Network Q succeeds by ticking all these boxes and now, 20 years and 1.9 million sales down the line, its model is pretty standard and followed by most other manufacturers.
But due credit to the one that started it all - Vauxhall's Network Q.