Friday, October 26, 2007

Bullard: Selling Cars, Load Shedding, Illegal Speeding and 4 km Rat Runs (INTERVIEW 4)

“In Africa you win votes by driving something big and shiny.”

NVDL: What do you drive?
Bullard: [Laughs] I’m driving whatever they give me. At the moment I’m driving an 18 year old Toyota Hilux bakkie, which I own, because I’m trying to sell a Mazda MX5.
NVDL: They have that beautiful bubble shape don’t they, hey?
Bullard: The Mazda? Yeah. I’ve got the new one with the flared arches; very nice. The problem is I live 1.5km from here; I don’t do school runs, and I’ve put 7000km on the clock in 22 months. It won’t have a service at this race for another 2 years.
NVDL: You don’t really need it.
Bullard: No.
RP: For how much are planning on selling it?
Bullard: For you, special price. R242 000 new. I’ll give it to you for about R190.

RP: That’s a very good price. And this weekend on Car Torque you’ll be driving the 350Z?
Bullard: Yes; very good car, very nice car. Good value.

NVDL: [Rudely interrupting] So what’s your dream car?
Bullard: Porsche [he enunciates the word lovingly: Por-sha] Look if money was no object and overall – I mean I do like many other cars – but I’ve found that consistently Porsche is a car you can drive every day. It’s a fabulous performer; it’s superbly engineered. I’ve been over to a lot of launches, I’ve seen the engineers, talked to the engineers: it delivers on every level.
NVDL: What about…
RP: Do you think it’s actually worth it; I mean on South African roads?
Bullard: No, [but] that’s a different question isn’t it? We were out yesterday; we were driving the Audi R8 down in Worcester, last week – on very clear, rural roads – at illegal speeds. The policemen were presumably told to take the day off. You can’t drive like that; you’re going to get nicked. You’re going to go to prison. I mean if you’re driving at 240, and this car is capable of 300km/h, - and my frustration is you’re sitting in a car like a Porsche thinking: “Well, you know, I’m actually using 40% of the capacity.” Like the big Merc. So, practically, I would rather have something that’s not a gas guzzler, that takes a lot of people… My wife drives a Renault Scenic which I think is great, apart from the second hand value, and I quite like boring MPVs. You for going into the bush…
NVDL: What’s an MPV?
Bullard: Multi-Purpose Vehicle, traditionally the ‘Mom’s Taxi’s, but they’ve got 7 seats and…

NVDL: I like that you said: -“not a gas guzzler”-
Bullard: Yeah.
NVDL: Because in the reality of what’s happening; I mean oil is now at $74 whatever-
Bullard: Heading towards 100.
NVDL: With the amount of cars that are just growing all of the world…
Bullard: Two nights ago I went to a dinner party in Sanddown, from Rosebank. Took me an hour and a half to get there. Because the robots were out. So because we’re having load shedding, it was gridlock cars, all the way through, all burning fuel…
NVDL: Mmm.
Bullard: Into the atmosphere, which must have been, which must be [in my estimation] worse than not having the robots working. Get the robots working, get the people home, then cut the electricity. Instead of which, there were hundreds of cars down every possible rat run. You do four kilometers in an hour and a half. And have all that frustration. And most of them were three litres. One guy was sitting in his car, on the cell phone..

NVDL: But do you see the cycle of what’s happening? We’re getting strange weather, which causes power outages, which causes traffic jams, and the traffic leads to weather…in a way…
Bullard: Sure. It’s a knock-on effect. Let’s manage it. Surely people can have flexi-hours at their offices. Surely more people can work from home. We’re talking executive’s cars moving in and out, at the same time every day, with one person in[side].
But we don’t have a good public transport system. When I lived in London I didn’t have a car; there was no point. I hired a car [for the] weekend.
NVDL: Yeah.
Bullard: I was on the bus, or a train or an Underground.
NVDL: I think part of the problem is suburbia.
Bullard: Yeah.
NVDL: We need a city and suburbia that’s one, which is basically what Europe is.
Bullard: Yes.
NVDL: We need that…How do you go into the future with suburbia still being developed, and now we’ve got this problem. Now you’ve got property markets the way they are, and so everything’s based on, you know, this project that doesn’t really have a future. So how do you un-engineer or re-engineer it?
Bullard: That’s right.
NVDL: There’s a movement call New Urbanism. They design walkable communities, and communities that are connected to organic systems. But I mean that’s still – that’s so on the fringe it’s not funny…
Bullard: Mmmm.
NVDL: But that basically needs to come in.
RP: On a lighter note…
Bullard: Indeed…I thought that was a light bit actually [Everyone laughs].
For the other interview click on the tag below: The Bullard Tapes.

No comments: