“Let’s be honest. No one ever wished for a smaller holiday gift.” So starts one of the TV commercials that seem to be run in nearly every ad block throughout every month of December. Since it’s not my desire to shed a bad light on the company who developed this marketing pitch, I’ll not mention them, but only give you a hint: it rhymes with Schmexus.
They make excellent vehicles, and many would argue they do so at a reasonable value as compared to other luxury car makers. The beef I have with them, and nearly every other luxury car maker, is that they ask us to make the purchase of one of their vehicles a Christmas present. You tell me—is stacking another $50,000 (with all the options) on top of your existing holiday gift budget doable?
As Cousin Eddie said in Christmas Vacation: “Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!” (Watch that hysterical clip by clicking HERE.) For most, the purchase of a new car is the gift that keeps on TAKING the whole year… or two, or five or six. If, for example, you get the top of the line stocking stuffer, even with “attractive financing options at 1.9%,” you’ll be paying over $850 PER MONTH for FIVE YEARS!
I’m not expecting ad agencies to provide us with an ethical foundation as consumers—it could easily be argued that it’s their objective to melt away our common financial sense this holiday season. But as I find myself staring longingly at luxury SUVs beset with bows as big as a Christmas tree, I thought it might be valuable to remind myself—and anyone else who might be susceptible to an indulgent moment this time of year—that a $50,000 present that requires an amortized mortgage on a depreciating asset isn’t really a gift…but instead, a burden.