By Earle C. Howard, General Sales Manager Cadillac Motor Car Company
One way of looking at the wartime chauffeur question — and probably the most sensible way — is this: One chauffeured automobile accomplishes as much as two or three which are driven without chauffeurs. In that light, the chauffeur instantly becomes an economy — not merely a justifiable expense, but an economy.
The main reason for the automobile is that it provides a safe, comfortable and reliable means of transportation. Every man who is in a position to do so probably desires to furnish such transportation for himself and his family. With one motor car, and without a chauffeur, such a thing is impossible. The owner himself can drive his car if he so elects, but during the time he is at business — if he uses his car to go to and from his office — the car stands idle in a garage or on the street. His family, meanwhile, gets about as best it can.
Thus it is seen that a chauffeur is well nigh if not actually indispensable if the family owning one motor car is to get the greatest good an usefulness out of it. Consider the day’s activities of a chauffeured motor car. The children are driven to school of mornings. The head of the family is driven to his business The mother is taken shopping, or to a Red Cross or other patriotic meetings in the afternoon. While she is there the car calls at school and takes the children home again. Later it returns to the city to bring the mother and father home for dinner. In the evening it is available for whatever outing the family or any of its members may have planned.
Economy does not mean solely the saving of money. Often it means the expenditure of money in order to make more money. Many successful business men apply this principle to their motor cars and their chauffeurs. They are competent to drive their own cars if they care to do so.
Instead, they prefer to employ a chauffeur to do their driving. They arrive at their office in the morning with clear heads. They have already begun the business day. During the quarter or half hour they have been on the road from home to office they have assimilated the day’s news from the morning paper. They have thought out some new business plan completely or in embryo, or arrived at the logical solution of some knotty problem that remained from the day before. Men who thus employ a chauffeur’s time to their own business and personal advantage list the pay of this worker in the economy column instead of the expense column.
Waiting for the draft
It is actually a fallacy to dispense with the services of a chauffeur because he happens to be of draft age. In due time he would have to go to war anyhow, and he is better off working at his regular job until that time comes. His employer, on the other hand, is spared the annoyance of having no chauffeur or of breaking in a new one.
If the chauffeur is beyond draft age, naturally he should be employed so that he may be a producing unit to the nation, and there is no conceivable reason why his services should not be retained. Experienced automobile drivers and mechanics are in demand for the service, of course, and because of that fact the man who employs a chauffeur is training a man for a highly specialized branch of war work.
Things which are essentially luxuries are naturally fewer than those which are necessities. There are thousands and tens of thousands of chauffeurs regularly employed in the United States. It is to be doubted if one man in ten considers his paid motor car driver any more of a luxury than the average man considers a streetcar motorman a luxury.