Insider Trading #5 : Eddie Lim

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"It isn't the song, but the singer," Eddie reckons

STORY BY Eddie Lim – Owner, Reflections Detail

Over the phone, a deep voice in a thick Middle-Eastern accent said, “Please come, look at my car, price no problem!” Two days later, I'm crammed into economy class on my way to Dubai. The next 16 weekends are spent restoring a Ferrari Enzo in the UAE, to Concours standards, panel-by-panel. Since then, I’ve yet to meet another “money-no-object” client, at least not in Singapore. But, how much is too much though? Be it service or product, I believe it’s all relative; a friend swears by his S$1,500 “durian” Louboutins, while I’m happy with my S$30 sneakers from Decathlon – both serve our respective purposes very well.

How then, does one assess the value of something, be it a service or a product, and does a high price necessarily equate to good quality, or is it simply the machinations of a “smooth-talking” salesperson? Everyone can relate to this, whether it involves a S$500 white t-shirt from an obscure label, or a bottle of French wine from a vineyard that everyone else thinks is the best, but in reality, may be overhyped and overpriced, and nothing really special at all.

I feel that ‘perceived value’ is theoretical, be it tangible or intangible, and can only be bandied about hypothetically until one’s expectations are met... or otherwise, as is too often the case. Let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a moment – the performance and specifications of a S$200k Kia Stinger 3.3 GT are close to the far more expensive Audi S5 Sportback, but then the brand snobs are constantly up in arms over glowing reviews of the Stinger. Why? Likewise, does the Italian racing heritage of a Ferrari 488 GTB necessarily command a premium over the McLaren 720S’s cutting-edge F1 technology?

The same can be said for the different brands of automotive ceramic coating and detailing services. Is there a difference in value between a S$700 Paint Protection System and a S$7,000 bespoke service? Unfortunately, all-too-often, a high price-tag used as an indicator, especially if the customer doesn’t know better, as is the use of ‘branded’ products.

batch 45675076431 78a4f36eee o(Eddie's passion for exotic cars isn't limited by price or country of origin – be it legendary Godzilla or LaFerrari, he loves em'all!)

As far as grooming and detailing is concerned, it’s never the song, but the singer. After all, big brand-name products can be executed poorly, while products that fly below the radar could return great results, because it’s ultimately down to the application and operator. That’s the crux of the matter really – results – and not slick haircuts, flashy ads and gleaming smiles. If anything, you should be checking out the slick finish, flashy reflection and gleaming surfaces of a properly applied product that lasts longer than a tropical thunderstorm.

I think the consumers’ perceived values that are tagged to different brands of products or services, are the result of a myriad of factors such as affiliation, status symbol, emotion, availability, history, complexity, et cetera. I must confess, I do appreciate high-quality, finer things too, but the question is, where do we draw the line, and how much is too much?

PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals

TopGear
Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.