Have a look around your home. If it’s anything like mine it will have many consumer durables within it and, from the Peugeot pen to the Monroe shock absorbers desk lamp, all of these items had to come from somewhere. How do you think they reached the shop or market stall or press launch? It was almost certainly in a van. Yet we take vans for granted and none more so than the products of Kangjai, better known as Korea’s fifth largest van manufacturer.
I had long overlooked these myself, not least because their press officer was a former Renault man who I had fallen out with in an argument about whether the spare wheels from press cars were mine to remove and sell. It tells you all you need to know about this particular chap that he insisted they weren’t. Fortunately for me, just three months after taking up his position at Kangjai he had to leave the job due to circumstances out of his control, specifically a heart attack and then death. It certainly looks like I had the last laugh there!
His replacement was much more amenable to speaking to me on the phone without swearing and, though he claimed not to have heard of me, he finally agreed to invite me to his next event as long as I promised to end the conversation and get off the phone. It helped of course that I write a website that is now in the top 85 for car-related blogs in northern England!
Just five weeks and three more phone calls later I was delighted to receive an invitation to try out the revamped Kangjai 400 and 600 light-to-medium vans at Broughleigh House Hotel in North Yorkshire, conveniently situated just 15 minutes from On The Limit with Roy Lanchester Towers. Naturally, I was really looking forward to trying these excellent machines.
Shortly afterwards I arrived at the charming Broughleigh House Hotel, its close proximity to my home meaning I could be there bright and early, ready to check-in to my room and prepare for the day ahead. Making my way downstairs again for the technical briefing I encountered Kangjai’s new PR man for the first time in person and what an enquiring fellow he turned out to be, firing endless questions at me such as ‘Have you been drinking from your minibar?’ and ‘No seriously, it’s 11am, have you really been at the minibar?’ I parried his rather impertinent line of questioning and, together with two dozen other ‘muttering rotters’, entered the allotted conference room where a Korean gentleman stood at the front and began to address us. I was sitting next to a rather dull chap from Van & Vanning who failed to see the funny side of my humourous interjections during the presentation and eventually gave me a rather terse explanation of the difference between North and South Korea. Rather pathetic in my view. I’m sure it’s not the first time the Korean gentleman has been called ‘Kim Jong-van’ in a jocular manner!
Suffice to say, the presentation was excellent and gave a highly informative view of these excellent commercial vehicles, as did the electronic press pack handed out afterwards which reminded us that Kangjai strives for the utmost quality and value in the purchase and ownership of a new commercial vehicle and the company has seen a significant 11 percent rise in sales YTD in 2014 which the thorough revamp of core models will build upon as the company bolsters its brand positioning in Q4 and beyond. For more details call the Kangjai press offi
Following the presentation, we were invited into an adjacent room for an excellent lunch during which there was plenty of opportunity to ask the waiter to bring some wine and then to sample it. The representatives from Kangjai, however, seemed less keen and began muttering some irrelevances about a ‘driving exercise’ with the excellent new vans that afternoon. I diffused the situation with another large red livener and regaled them with a tremendous anecdote about a visit to Korea with Daewoo many years ago during which I encountered the most extraordinary prostitute.
I had barely reached the part where she removed the apple from whence it had been inserted when I found myself being bodily removed from the room by three or four exceedingly angry men, none of whom would cease in their desire to escort me from the premises, even when I was attempting to be sick. To my disappointment, I was bluntly informed that I was no longer welcome on the launch event and bundled into the back of a vehicle to be driven home on a pile of towels.
Can you guess what sort of vehicle it was? No, me neither. However, I presume it was a Kangjai van and therefore excellent!
Roy Lanchester is the motoring correspondent for Your Knitting magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester. (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)