December 5, 2012 - Are you searching for the perfect gift? That perfect mixture of need and want that creates pure elation in the hearts and minds of your loved ones? Don’t worry—I have the answer. According to a survey done by automakers, 65% of people want a new car for Christmas! Boom-- problem solved! What a huge weight off your shoulders, right? All you need to do is shell out a few hundred grand, pick up a mid-size sedan for every person in your family, buy some gigantic red ribbon, and your Christmas is guaranteed to be a success.
If only it were that easy…
Apparently carmakers are doing their job because they have instilled this fantasy in our heads about waking up Christmas morning, being blindfolded and ushered outside into the driveway by our loved ones, only to find a brand new car sitting in our drive way wrapped in ribbon the size of a red carpet. We know that their marketing is working when 2/3 of all Americans are buying in to this fantasy. Granted there are lot of people out there that could use a new car, but let’s not lie to ourselves and say those Lexus (Christmas Edition) car commercials haven’t scarred us for life.
For the past two years, December has been the best month of the year for auto sales. Growth this year is supposed to reach 12% over December 2011. The average age of cars has reached an all-time high in the US—11 years. Combine that with low interest rates and you have a recipe for record growth. I’m not trying to get anyone’s hopes up, but if someone was going to buy you a car this would be the month for them to do it. Whatever you do, when someone says they have a surprise for you this Christmas, fight the impulse to shout, “Is it a car!?” In the infinitesimal chance that it is, you just ruined the surprise and if it’s not—good luck convincing them that a scarf was your second guess.
That is what we call a lose-lose.