How we almost didn’t buy a Peugeot 206 XT
From a Peugeot 205 Junior to a 206XT, this is the story of a long-running French affair, despite a dealer’s best intentions to spoil the romance, writes Tony Bosworth.
BACK 13 YEARS ago we bought a brand new Peugeot 206 XT in black (so, the car you’re looking at at the top of the page isn’t, ahem, it – sorry), the wife and me, before the nippers were born.
Back in London we’d had an old 205 Junior, a car that asked you to spend 20 minutes starting it on a cold day. I can still hear the cough-cough-cough of that motor and feel my numbed hands and see my ghost breath. The speedo didn’t work, nor the indicators and there was something dodgy about the steering which made it feel like a boat. Sometimes I thought about the only thing that worked properly was the battery, but only just. But for some reason we loved that car like a child and so we called the new black 206, Son of Junior.
Only first of all we had to get it from the dealer. I won’t tell you which Peugeot dealer because, Lord in Heaven Above, I hope they have changed hands or changed attitude since we were last there, or even closed down.
We were introduced to the finance person. He said he’d get back to us. Days went by. Eventually I called him.
“Weren’t you supposed to call us with some finance ideas?”
“What gave you that idea?”
“Well, I thought you were the finance and loan manager. We saw you and talked about finance. ”
“Right, so how come you haven’t come back to us, we want to arrange some finance.”
“I don’t have to put up with this!”
I know, I have no idea what he was thinking either. Anyway, we’d ordered the car and paid the deposit so it was on its way.
Only, the day we were due to pick the car up I got a phone call. “Mate, the car won’t start.”
“Oh, I thought it was new?” I said drily.
“Yeah, but it won’t start. Do you want to cancel it?”
“Er, no. We’ve paid a deposit. We’re expecting it. Surely you can get it going.”
“No-one knows what’s wrong with it.”
“Umm, maybe you can find someone? I mean you must have mechanics?”
But then I thought, they have a finance manager who isn’t so maybe they have mechanics who aren’t…
Either way, eventually they got the car going. My gut feel was they had someone who wanted a black 206 who was happy to pony up more than we were paying, so they wanted to sell the car to them. Or maybe they were just dumb.
When we went in to pick up the car the salesman gave me the key with a cheap plastic fob – you know, the ones they clip on when your motor goes in for servicing. On an elastic band.
“Don’t we get a Peugeot keyfob?”
“How’d you mean?
“Well, we’ve just paid $25K for the car and you’re telling me there’s no key fob?”
“We don’t just hand them out.”
That was just the beginning, and we hadn’t even driven it by then. I’ll tell you more another time because this saga ran and ran.