If you’ve never seen nor heard of lingscars.com you need to check them out. Ling Valentine is a woman from China who now lives in the UK. On YouTube she refers to herself as “I Am Ling I Am Female Chinese Human Uk New Car Expert” and also in other places the “Mental Oriental”.
Established in 2000, LingsCars supplies online leasing in Gateshead, England. Ling’s approach is to cut unnecessary overheads, offer great customer service and undercut big leasing companies by as much as 35%.
That approach has certainly paid off, according to The Guardian, she did 85 million euro in car leases last year.
How did she get into it in the first place? Her husband Jon sold cars, and she thought she could do a better job.
The website itself breaks all of the rules of web design and formatting, yet it gets 120,000 unique visitors a month.
“Music, gifs everywhere…holy @$%^balls. The songs (yes, plural) even seem to cut off halfway through. Enter at your own risk. Loss of sanity may occur.”
Another Redditor found this on the source code of her website:
But wait, it’s really not that bad….and it does follow some rules. I ran a website speed test through Pingdom and it scored a 93, so hats off to the programmers for making that noisy website so fast. I did some testing for some US Dealer’s websites and they score in the 50s. I challenge someone to find a US vehicle website that achieves a better score than that. Seriously, try to find one.
Ling appeared on Dragon’s Den (The UK’s version of Shark Tank) in 2008 and she was offered an investment, which she promptly turned down…..twice. She was there for the publicity.
Going on Dragons’ Den massively helped my business,” says Ling. “Ten minutes on prime-time BBC, plus all the endless repeats on Dave, plus all the associated publicity was worth over £250,000 in advertising. Two million ABC12 viewers on the night gave my business a massive immediate boost.” ~ Marketing Donut
“None of the other boring, useless, stuffy car leasing websites make as much effort as me! I laugh at them” ~ Ling
Ling also owns her very own Chinese Rocket Truck:
According to her Facebook Fan Page, less than a week ago she posted the following about the rocket truck:
My nuclear missile truck (Kim Jong Un is soooo jealous) is being upgraded with 6 new Goodyear G388 tyres 12R20 to replace the awful cracking-up 1970 Russian tyres shown in the pic… then BACK OUT ON THE ROAD! The 7.0 V8 petrol sounds stunning fired up in my barn!
She had a double decker London bus as well, but she sold it back in 2010.
If you look at the news section of Lingscars.com, she has received a ton of press over the years. I counted 231 articles from credible sources and 22 tv or radio appearances. Here is one screenshot from the page:
Another impressive thing I noticed was the size of her BDC. She posted this on YouTube about 2 years ago:
I miss the cats and chickens of the old site, and I miss the girls singing through megaphones but the new one is just as great. She even made this special website for her Twitter followers.
Here are a few comments I picked up about Ling around the internet.
The woman’s insane, but in an entirely sane (and probably intentional) way.
From personal YouTube videos to particularly poignant and honest presentations or direct and true sales pitches, the humility, freshness and transparency that comes with an honest performance might actually be better than what a professional could do ~ Seth Godin
Don’t be fooled, she’s a very canny businesswoman and uses the ‘in your face’ site and method to stand out in a bland marketplace. She has a rocket launcher with her details on. She calls herself the ‘Mental Oriental’. She was on Dragon’s Den (Shark Tank) and won the investment – then rejected it. Then was convinced by producers to reshoot, and rejected it again. She just wanted the publicity. She is very canny and successful and this site design is very deliberate!
Crappy design aside, this website is far more functional and more informative than any other car dealer website than I have ever seen! These guys know their shit!
Lings cars is the shit!! I was on a team developing a huge website years ago and we used code from there as placeholders while in dev . We had a chicken walking around our menu, a karaoke widget, it was so fun. Also if you look at the back end code exactly how it’s written out, it makes Ling’s face. This site is a thing of both genius and beauty
I was skeptical, then I saw the chicken. SOLD. I’m calling today for a car.
Go to the faq page it’s hilarious. Each question is answered in a video. I can’t believe I just spent an hour browsing this site
Hidden on the homepage code: // console.log(“Welcome to LINGsCARS! Please help me, Ling’s got me chained on her basement coding this website, HELP.”);
This has been around for years. I saw the proprietor speak at a web conference, she was awesome. The site is 99% branding and it’s done pretty well I think. She spoke about the mobile experience and why it wasn’t responsive: “who hires a bmw whilst taking a shit? no-one”.
lingscars is actually one of the most genius examples of marketing on the web, having a viral website that is popular for looking so bad can bring far more traffic then a well structured website. About 4 years ago this website was all over the newspaper here in the UK and went very viral. Ling has been very successful.
As a Redditor above mentioned, check out the Frequently Asked Questions. They really do answer each with a video.
This tactic has obviously been working for her, and she’s laughing at all her critics on the way to the bank.