A spotlight on TraXall International: employee Q&A
For work, pleasure and leisure, the road is open once again after the pandemic, and we all hope that essential travel is just a concept of the past.
As we all head for the hills, heartlands or just back home, we are shining a spotlight on our TraXall employees, to see what their driving revelations say about them and to discuss all things motor.
How many times did you take your driving test to pass? Would you pass it now if you retook it?
We’ve got some driving pros here at TraXall. Of the employees we asked, more than two-thirds passed their driving test first time. Some, like Miguel, CRO Iberia and LATAM, really showed their expertise: “I have several driving licences – cars, motorbikes and trucks. I passed all of them at first attempt.”
Most were pretty confident they could still pass the test too. Mark, Business Development Manager at TraXall UK, put the belief in his abilities down to “the ongoing driver training and risk assessments” he does, positive his “knowledge is still up to scratch.” However, a few others weren’t too sure, especially when it came to the theory. Anders, Key Account Manager at TraXall Nordics thought the “theoretical part could be a challenge,” while Miguel explained that “bad habits after a length of time are difficult to correct,” leaving him unconvinced about passing the test again.
What was your first car?
Think back to when you got your first car. How did you feel? Was it relief to no longer get the bus? Were you excited about your first taste of freedom?
With many of us passing our driving test as teenagers, our first car represented a first step into adulthood, so no wonder we have nostalgic memories of zipping around town in (most probably) a beat-up banger.
Rachel, Commercial Support Manager at TraXall UK, looks back on her first car with fondness: “I had a red 1980 Ford Fiesta called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang because when I first got it, it needed restoring and all it could manage was to tick over and backfire!”
“My first car was an Alfa Romeo Alfasud TI,” said Gert, Business Development Manager at TraXall NL. “It was one of the best cars of the mid-seventies – and mine was the rustiest one ever!”
Other cars included a 1996 Open Vectra 1.6 (Albert, IT Infrastructure, Digitalisation Manager at TraXall Germany), a Renault 5 GT Turbo (Mark) and a white 1991 Ford Escort (Anders).
If money was no object, what would be your favourite car? If you were Q from James Bond, what fantasy gadget would you add to your car?
In 2020, the best-selling car in Europe was the Volkswagen Golf, with more than 312,000 delivered. But if money was no object, what would our employees choose instead?
“My all-time favourite car is a Citroen DS in excellent condition,” says Gert. “In the fifties, this car was a revolution in the automotive world and it can still compare with today’s luxury cars.”
Porsches were a popular choice. Mael, Deputy Managing Director at TraXall France, went for an old convertible 993, Anders chose a 911 Turbo S, while Dennis, Customer Service Team Lead at TraXall Germany, picked the GT3 RS, calling it “sporty, dynamic and aspirational”.
Most chose the fast and powerful. “A Ferrari F430 Scuderia,” said Murat, Managing Director at TraXall Turkey. “The Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9,” added Jurgen, Fleet Manager at TraXall NL. “It’s fast, looks fantastic without a lot of bling and puts a smile on your face.”
We also asked employees what fantasy gadgets they would add to their car if they were Q from James Bond.
It became clear that sitting in congestion was a bugbear across the whole of Europe, with both Katy, Marketing Manager, and Mark wanting the ability to fly over traffic jams. Janine, Junior Account Manager at TraXall CH, went one step further with the idea: “I’d want to be able to charge the car in a thunderstorm and be able to fly above cars that are in my way – like Marty McFly from Back to the Future.”
Middle-lane hoggers aren’t popular either, with Alexander, Managing Director at TraXall Germany, claiming he’d “like to be able to lift slow vehicles from the middle to the right lane.”
Time-saving capabilities seem to be a common wish amongst TraXall staff. “I’d have a self-cleaning car – I never have the time”, said Rachel. Florin, Customer Accounting Specialist at TraXall Germany, wanted: “Something to remove all of the snow on everyone’s cars,” while Jurgen, IT Application Manager at TraXall Germany, said: “Switching traffic lights to green”.
What couldn’t you drive without?
When looking for a new car, we usually have a list of things we would like the vehicle to have, whether that’s parking sensors or bright green tyres. Often, these are a ‘nice-to-have’ but there are features we deem as a necessity.
“First thing is power – I need so much power! But as an accessory, air-con” said Murat. Katy agreed: “Air-con in summer, heated seats in winter. On long journeys, it’s an entertaining passenger!”
Gert prefers to go old-school with his motors: “I like to drive cars without any modern features – no powered steering, no electric windows, no brake assistant or ABS. That’s real driving.”
Albert doesn’t really have a favourite feature: “A real rider drives everything in every condition!”
What do you listen to in the car? What is your favourite summer driving song?
When the sun is shining, there’s nothing better than jumping in your car, putting the windows down and cruising along country lanes or scenic coastlines.
But what really makes a road trip is the music. The TraXall team are quite eclectic when it comes to music taste, so it’s no surprise all of their favourite summer driving songs are totally different.
Albert’s favourite “changes every day but it is currently Louder than Hell by Mötley Crüe”. Miguel chose “Burning Love” by the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, whereas Jurgen (Fleet Manager) went techno, with “Feed Your Head” by Paul Kalkbenner.
On longer trips, he tends to stick with the more upbeat style of music, listening to dance and especially his favourite band, Depeche Mode. Florin’s the same, preferring to hit play on EDM, rock and hip-hop tunes: “anything that doesn’t make me sleepy!”
It’s not just music that our employees tune into. Quite a few employees listen to podcasts, along with audio books while Katy also listens to comedy but what she has on “depends on my mood and time of travel.”
Are you a green EV warrior or a fuel fanatic?
With upcoming ICE vehicle sale bans and ambitious government emissions targets, it’s no surprise sales of battery-powered vehicles are on the increase, rising by 43% to more than three million in 2020.
But do our employees prefer electric or fuel? It’s a split vote.
Anders said: “I own two electric cars so I have to go for EVs.” Marta, International Account Manager, is also for EVs, while Mark says he is a reformed fuel fanatic.
In the fuel camp is Jurgen (Fleet Manager): “I see the advantage of EVs but I love the sound of a good V6 or V8 petrol engine.” Florin thinks our current infrastructure wouldn’t be able to cope if everyone went green: “I challenge anyone to demonstrate how we would charge all of the cars being driven today. Let’s keep a clean diesel on offer.”
Others were on the fence. Rachel said she was neither an EV warrior or a fuel fanatic, however she was “moving towards EV.” Katy was similar: “I don’t really care as long as it works.”
Where would be your dream destination for a driving holiday?
The pandemic had us dreaming of all the places we’d go when the world started to open back up and nothing sounded as good as a road trip.
“I’d choose the winding roads of Tuscany – I can’t get enough of them!” said Florin.
Both Murat and Miguel would head to the USA, travelling the Pacific Coast and Route 66 respectively, while Alexander would road trip across the world’s second largest country, Canada.
We also asked our well-travelled workers what their favourite driving route was that they’ve done. “The road to Hana in Maui,” said Murat.
“Driving to Andorra so I can enjoy the scenery,” added Marta. Mark also chose a picturesque route: “Glasgow to Fort William through Glen Coe. Amazing scenery and great winding roads.”
Our favourite though was from Jurgen (IT Application Manager) whose favourite route is the road “to my grandma in Austria.” Aww.
Are you a neat-freak or a messy car person?
Most of our employees prefer a clean car but there are some who are the opposite.
“I must admit that I am a messy car person but honestly, I would prefer to be a neat-freak,” said Janine.
Miguel says his car is “clean on the inside but as long as I can see through the windows, I don’t care about the outside” whereas Katy likes a clean vehicle but the “kids and dog mess it up!”
Meanwhile, Albert says his car has to be tidy but “it ain’t no surgery ward in there!”
Driverless cars – in favour of or fear them?
A future of driverless cars is getting ever closer yet there are still concerns and a lack of trust from consumers about vehicle safety.
It was a mixed response when we asked our employees if they were in favour or feared autonomous vehicles.
Mark said he was in favour, but only when the technology was ready. “Right now, I would fear them as they’re not ready for the roads yet.”
A lack of control was an issue for a few members of staff. Florin said: “Assistance systems save lives but humans should be in control. If you don’t want to drive, take the bus.”
Other comments included “boring!” (Jurgen, IT Application Manager), “sceptical” (Anders) and “I wouldn’t use them now but when I’m too old to drive, it sounds like a marvellous solution” (Gert).