LOCAL MARKET REPORT
Recently, I spoke about how the number of members joining clubs nowadays roughly equals the number of members leaving, especially with clubs representing vintage-type vehicles.
Decline is unavoidable in such clubs, due to the average age of members; insular vision; lack of strategic management; in some cases, undesirable members with large egos in positions of authority who are unable to relinquish control; and, to a large extent, that terrible ‘clique disease’ that plagues all clubs. Sooner or later, most clubs will need to revisit their constitution, as necessary, to secure their future — to attract new progressive blood of any age and sex. Because it is new blood that will be the lifeline of any club’s future, and which will ensure the future of our automotive heritage in this country.
Like many of you, I have a genuine interest in classic and vintage vehicles and do not wish to see our beautiful cars systematically deteriorate — or head overseas — simply because clubs lack the management skills, or the energy or the discipline, to hand over control from one generation to another.
The fact is that historic vehicles and classic cars can do much for our country’s economy. Clubs need to be led by people who are not a hindrance to them. I repeat: lack of energy, pride, fear of the unknown, people wanting to stay in control forever — where it concerns historic vehicles and classic cars, we need vision, discipline, and good management skills.
We want a future for our cars in this country, and we past, present, and future classic car enthusiasts have the power to make things happen, to make this hobby of ours a wonderful adventure. To achieve this, we need to dream big. Unfortunately, most clubs lack vision. In fact, it would be best for our automotive heritage if some clubs became part of a more progressive body with a proper set of rules and strategy.
What we need is one solid new movement, which can bring the past and the present together to build the future under one roof with policies that work for all. Many cars leave our shores today because past and upcoming generations have not been involved by their peers, and, as a result, they are nowadays not interested in carrying forward the legacy of their forefathers. This movement must work to interest offspring in and introduce them to the world of classic and vintage motoring, irrespective of era, and get them to experience the magic of enjoying cars of days gone by.
It must establish and introduce more local themed events, and work with local councils and organizations in every region to create world-class events like the Napier
Art Deco Festival. Every region would become better known for its heritage, and would get to showcase its produce, businesses, and services. With these events, every region would be investing in its own, because every event would be promoted nationally and internationally.
I resent it when people say to me that it’s almost impossible to sell vintage cars nowadays, because new generations are not interested in these older vehicles, and, as a result, current owners have no one to pass them on to. Unfortunately, there is an underlying truth in this. Clubs need guidelines. They need governance by a higher authority. They all need to fit within an overall strategy/structure. This new movement must create an environment that permits clubs to operate within it. To achieve this, it must do away with what’s obsolete and raise awareness that things must change to create a fundamentally new and superior value to our automotive heritage, so that our heritage can have a future in this country.
The idea of mate’s rates, of cars being offered to club members first at reduced prices, will become obsolete. The idea of one member waiting for another to pass on so that a car may be snatched from someone’s widow for the price of a beer — this mentality is unprofessional, unethical, cheeky, and inappropriate. It is unacceptable, and should have no place in this new movement, because such practice only serves to ruin the value and credibility of our automotive heritage. Instead, this new movement should direct its efforts to establish the correct incentive schemes — that is, to pass our heritage on sustainably to future guardians, in our country, at market prices.
This movement must serve as a bridge between one generation and another, and serve as a guarantor, so that our heritage remains protected in this country. It must recreate this industry by regenerating it, by creating a market that turns our vintage cars into investments — just like art, fine wine, and diamonds. Additionally, it should also fight for restoration costs to become subsidized by government, and should insist our industry become recognized as a subject in our education system. It must protect its heritage first. The marketing strategy will consider that vehicles are only the byproduct, because few products and services exist in a vacuum, and in most cases, other products and services affect value.
This is how we can raise the value of our heritage, how we can attract the right members to this movement — by creating something that everyone yearns to be part of. This new movement must work with local government to ensure that importing heritage to our country is facilitated, and exporting heritage out of our country is penalized or taxed. This movement must work to make New Zealand the classic and vintage car capital of the world. It must bring international runs and events to our shores aplenty. New Zealand will become the envy of many, and all this will boost our economy.
Unless this happens, the problems we face today will remain, and, as a result, we will continue losing our cars to overseas buyers. We will continue losing an industry that can be saved by simply turning it into a fun, trendy investment scheme, a scheme available for anyone who wants to be part of it.
It would, of course, be nice to see such a movement grow within an existing body, but, as things stand, an existing structure is not required for such movement to establish itself, because anything existing only serves as a motivator for this new movement to flourish.
Until next time, safe driving!