But there are other reasons that motivate people to spend twice as much for a car then they absolutely need to.
I've owned several different brands of cars, including sports cars, luxury cars, and economy cars, and I have my own theory on this.
Just like some photographers need to own Leicas, some drivers must have a Mercedes or a BMW. Once you achieve a certain station in life, then you surround yourself with all the standard accessories.
People with ordinary jobs can drive ordinary cars, but if you ever become a mid level manager, then you need to be seen driving a mid level car. If you're a high level manager, or a doctor or lawyer, then you absolutely need a luxury car, to prevent clients, subordinates, customers, or patients from thinking you might not be good at your job.
Incidentally, this works in reverse too. I once knew an appliance repairman who drove a beat up old pickup truck, despite the fact that he did very well, earning six figures a year. I once asked him why he didn't get a nice car. He replied "If I drove a fancy car, then my customers might think I charge too much."
Luxury cars provide the best customer service. Of course, you pay for it when you buy the car, but it really is something nice to have.
|Mercedes Service Technician|
They all seem to offer a year of free roadside assistance, even giving you a toll free number you can call 24/7.
BMW even provides free maintenance for the first 48 months. You will get free glossy magazines mailed to your home, which extol the virtues of the brand.
At many luxury car dealerships, any time you bring your car in it gets a free carwash.
Another nice perk is they actually let you take a test ride without being accompanied by a salesman. Either they trust that you won't steal their car, or the car you left behind when you went on the test drive is worth enough to make them relax.
Yes, these cars do cost a lot, but it's really nice to have windows that don't rattle, knobs that don't fall off, and cars that ride quietly and smoothly. Don't expect great fuel mileage, but luxury cars will generally be loaded with the latest safety and performance features. And you will be shamelessly pampered by their comfort and convenience features.
Once you get over a certain price, the manufacturers have to struggle to find more things to give you to justify the high cost. So while your economy car might come with a standard radio and heater, and even perhaps an automatic transmission... a luxury car will come with headlight washers, and headlights that turn when you turn the car. You don't get hubcaps, you get magnesium alloy wheels. ABS brakes are standard, as is power everything, a moon roof, cruise control and heated seats.
My wife's 12 year old Mercedes E320 came with a hepa filter. The car has technology in it that was 5 years ahead of everyone else. All as standard features.
This one is bigger than you think. The first time you visit a luxury car dealership for service, you will be shocked at how much better they treat you. They really try hard to make you feel important. They call you "sir" or "madam."
The very first thing you will see when you enter a luxury car showroom is a receptionist who looks like a runway model. Not only is the receptionist attractive, she is also stylishly attired, poised, articulate, and extremely helpful.
Your Customer Service Representative will then take you on a tour of their service area, which is so clean you can literally eat off the floors. All their technicians wear white uniforms, which are also spotless. Often, the walls are made of huge glass panes, so you can see everything that happens to your car, while you sip a cappuccino.
|Waiting room at Newport Lexus|
There are fresh cut flowers in vases, and instead of sitting on hard plastic or metal chairs, you get soft leather sofas.
Plus, they have recent issues of real magazines! You don't have to read two year old copies of the "Automotive Mechanics Journal."
They will automatically give you a loaner even if you bring the car in for an oil change, and want to go shopping for 30 minutes. No questions asked. They just assume that every service appointment will require a loaner.
And here's the best part. They never argue with you. If you blame your car when you did something stupid that caused damage to it... then they apologize to you. Like it was some kind of design flaw.
All of this is such a welcome change from your usual experience with other dealers, that you completely forget that you paid $55,000 for a car that should have cost $30,000... and are paying $148 for an oil change that you could have gotten for $29 at JiffyLube.