With the holidays behind us--according to news reports, one of the slowest holiday shopping seasons in history--I've been reflecting on some of the TV advertising I saw during my much needed vacation time.
Vendors and retail outlets across the board have been throwing themselves (figuratively of course) at American consumers in an effort to get us to buy something, anything, in this, the worst economic recession in decades, maybe the worst economic situation the country has seen since the Depression. Chief among these desperate purveyors seem to be automakers.
The world economic situation in general, seemingly based in large part on the downturn in the American economy, has put a pretty big hurt on the new car market. Manufacturers put on their bravest faces and combat the rumors of sales stagnation and declining profits with their own press releases, but the fact is, people by and large aren't even buying cheap stuff, let alone brand-new automobiles... let along brand-new luxury automobiles.
Even so, Lexus ran the same ad campaign it always runs around Christmastime. You know, the commercials where so-and-so is lured out into the driveway to find a brand-new Lexus automobile sitting there, wrapped in an absurdly gigantic bow. This year the commercials began with flashbacks from so-and-so's childhood and so-and-so's memory of "the best present ever." One kid was playing his Atari, one was riding his Big Wheel, one little girl was brushing out the hair on her new Barbie or pony or whatever it was--I can't quite remember. Then the scene flashes to the present, when so-and-so, all grown up, is standing in the driveway looking at his or her brand-new Lexus. "It's the best present ever!" they would say.
I guess what I'm getting at here is 1) did anyone really get a brand-new car in this depressing fiscal climate and 2) do people really buy new cars for each other, even in the prosperous times? I for one can't envision blowing 30, 40, or 50 grand on a new car for anyone except maybe myself... I don't care how gorgeous she is. Buying a gift that extravagant just seems tacky and overly desperate, like you're trying to make up for something awful you did or trying to win affection you wouldn't normally win on your own. It seems lame.
Not to mention if someone I know did happen to buy me a car I'd most likely be disappointed by the result. "Honey, here's your brand-new Lexus!"
"Eh... but I wanted a BMW."
For me, choice of car is a highly personal decision and I would hardly expect anyone close to me to have any clue of what I wanted (I don't hang out with many car people outside of work).
But if anyone out there is reading this blog and feels extra generous around this time next year, what I really really want is a new M3. Or, if you've got a little extra change lying around, a GT3. That'd actually be pretty sweet.
Here's hoping Santa reads my blog.