Shall I buy a new Audi or 6 new Smarts?

object015-copyOf course there is not a person in the world who will be doubting between those two options. Recently embarrassed by an online competition, I realized that I knew nothing about car prices. But it did spark a curious thought wave for car buyers. Presumably because you never compare the prices of cars of different categories, you already have a benchmark car in mind, for instance a Smart, and will compare the other options to that one – one of which you will eventually buy.

But it is fun to think out of the category. Let us taken an example, starting high. It appears that you can buy a Ferrari (California) for 180 k€. Not too bad for a Ferrari you might think. Indeed, until you realize that you could also get both yourself and your spouse a Corvette (C6) for the same amount, and have enough left (50k€) to hire a butler for a year. But of course, that is not how people think. You want the Ferrari and you will stretch (or not) the finances for it.

But still, car purchasing is a curious game. Instead of that Ferrari, imagine you had your eyes set on a Bugatti (Veyron). You could get 9 Ferrari’s for the price of that one, or a whopping 25 Corvettes! Almost a Corvette for every day in month! Bear in mind that that does imply that finding that parking spot on your block is going to be a little more difficult…

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But say you are not in the market for a Bugatti or a Ferrari for that matter, and were rather looking at a Smart, a Fiat 500, or a little Peugeot cabrio to take you around town. These are all about the same price (18k€), as would have been a larger SUV, like the Nissan Qashqai. Of course you could still get 2 Logans at this rate and have enough left over for a simple scooter. They are all cars and our choice of vehicle will depend on some objective criteria (such as power, comfort or fuel consumption) and a whole lot of purely subjective ones (variations on “I like it”) which will determine your decision. Either way, it is a major expense.

Smart’s sales tactic, selling cars like milk cartons, encourages the practical and easy side of their vehicle. And they look like fun. But you are not the only one who thinks so. The Smart (Fortwo) is also the most stolen can in France today (2007, Auto Plus). Since theft is partly for resale (usually the more expensive cars) and mostly for parts, popular cars tend to be the ones which do well in the stolen car business as well. In the theft popularity contest, the Renault Twingo is next, followed by the Peugeot 306 and the Renault Cleo. They are all small and popular cars. Of course small cars are often left out on the street as well… so perhaps instead of that Smart for 18k€ you could consider that 12k€ Cleo and fork out for a garage with the remaining 6k€, if you can get a garage for that rate where you live… or perhaps you should just get the Smart… because it’s the one you had your eye on from the start. After all, arguments are just arguments.

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