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First-time car buyer? Get a Mercedes Benz!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I was reading the weekend edition of The Business Times and the front page story was headlined "First-time car buyers disappearing fast".

When I read that, I thought I could guess what the article was about. It would probably go along the line of how the "cooling measures" are working because 100% LTV is a thing of the past, I thought. Well, I was right but only partially.

Although the report said that most first time car buyers are young working adults and that most of them are unable to come up with the required 40% or 50% down payment, something very interesting was also reported.

While most first-time car buyers of entry level cars (which I understand from the article are those priced at around $120,000 each) have been priced out of the market, Mercedes Benz is still doing a roaring trade with first-time car buyers!

The A-Class

"We are seeing more kids bringing their parents to the showroom to book a CLA-Class or A-Class," said a senior executive at Mercedes Benz. Their A200 is priced at $156,000. "... it also looks like more parents are buying a Mercedes for their children."

The CLA at $179,888. Ouch.

Well, I suppose the cooling measures are not targeted at the rich. Rich people can well afford the luxuries in life and cars are definitely a luxury in Singapore. 

Even so, to have a brand new Mercedes Benz as a first car for a young adult given all of today's restrictions is ... er ...

Could someone help me with an adjective here?

The cooling measures have definitely worked to prevent the less rich to be more prudent because, in the past, it was possible to borrow 100% of the car's asking price with a loan repayment period of 10 years. 

A young person could then drive out of a car showroom in a brand new car paying as little as $500. He would probably have been wearing a big smile on his face and thinking to himself, "Wah! So affordable!"

Who says money cannot buy happiness?
(But buy already still have money or not?)

Related posts:
1. They were just showing off their wealth.
2. Polish your own car and save money.
3. Tea with AK71: Bought a new car.
4. Mature and sophisticated consumers lease cars, not buy.


Gary said...

Hi AK, are you referring to the word, "exaggerating"?

I quite like your small fonts for your last statement! =)

I dream of owning Audi A4 Avant but it's beyond my dream car!!!!

Musicwhiz said...

Ostentatious is the adjective you're probably looking for. And I concur.

AK71 said...

Hi Gary,

Well, there is a word on my mind but it could offend some people. So, I shan't say it. ;p

Actually, I didn't just use a smaller font size. I used a lighter shade of grey as well. Can see, cannot see? Some people choose to see. Some people choose not to see. ;p

My dream car is a MB C class. Sigh. Must resist temptation! -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi MW,

Ostentatious? Nice adjective and fitting too. The one I have in mind is a little stronger but your choice is apt. :)

Tien Song Chuan said...

AK71 said...

Hi Tien,

Thanks for sharing the link. :)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


My dream car is Tina Turner's legs.

The tone, sleek look. Raw power encapsulated within slender sensuous curves...

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

AK71 said...


Tina Turner? I think Madonna is more my generation. Now, I know how old you are. ;p

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


I'm a jie-jie kind of guy ;)

Now fashionable you know?

Don't know why, I am hearing Freddie Mercury's "I'm the great pretender" in my head now...


Ah, a good word to poke others. But better wear armour. When rich people poke back, it's like crushing cockroaches...


AK71 said...


Indeed, the rich have firepower in more ways than one! Don't play, play. Better pray, pray. ;p

Well, if the scions of multi-millionaires were to get their MBs, I guess they aren't pretentious, are they? I mean if I were to get one, that would be pretentious. ;)

打肿脸充胖子! Slap, slap, slap.... OUCH! :_(

Anonymous said...

Hi AK,

I am not the least surprised at what you wrote as I have seen many such cases of the affluence not knowing their impact of their "money love" on their kids.

I work with children, and mostly children that come from affluence to ultra-rich families. I remembered a family buying air tickets to follow her kid to our overseas trip, while we have emphasized that we will not allow contact with her kid. But still, she managed to pass money to the kid at the hotel sneakily. SIgh... During one of the special treat at Macdonald, we allowed kids to buy the food they like after the pre-ordered meal if they like. This kid bought so much food, and left the penny changes on the tray and ask his group mates to take them as he does not want them!!(Told to me by his group mates, although I didn't witness it.) I questioned his ability to finish the food and he replied he could. I said:" Fine, as long as you could, but if you can't, I am sure you can pass them to your group mates who might gladly finished it for you, so as not to waste any food." I could see him struggling with the food, and he took one bite at 4 drumsticks each, and simply refused to share.

There are too many other cases to share, basically, there are a very small proportion of wealthy who have no wisdom despite their wealth,e.g. there are kids who bought drinks and tell the stall owners to keep the change.

It made me realized wealth can be a double edge sword, and it will do more harm than good, if parents have no wisdom and impart the wrong values.

Having said that, I am very glad to observe such cases of misplaced priorities are still in the small minority. I have also seen sons of some ultra-wealthy, humble and kind. When there are some stereotypes that these "ah sia" will all be snobs, this cannot be further away from the truth. At the end of the day, it boils down to one word "upbringing", and I am sure you do not need "wealth" to have a proper upbringing, in fact, with excess "wealth". there are many pitfalls in upbringing a child.

AK71 said...

Hi Mike,

You are right. Upbringing shapes all of us. :)

Of course, "upbringing" is also a very powerful word which is very loaded with judgement.

If a family is so rich as to have enough wealth to last for generations, who are we to deliver lectures on thrift and prudence to their scions? To them, the concept of "thrift" is, perhaps, redundant and that we are just being nosey. ;)

We help those who are willing to be helped. With all others, I close an eye (or both).

Anonymous said...

Haha AK,

You are right, occupation hazard... Look like your Zen Level has improved

AK71 said...

Hi Mike,

Are you a teacher by profession? ;)

Well, once upon a time, I was a teacher.

Maybe, you are right. Maybe, I am more ZEN these days about such things. Well, if it does not affect me much, why should it bother me much? So, maybe, I am just more selfish now. :(

The Sun said...

Hi AK,

You may be please to note that although Madonna belongs to your generation, she is very well alive and kicking in the pop music scene with the release of the MDNA album earlier this year. Moreover, her MDNA World Tour live album is set to be released next month.

The Sun

AK71 said...

Hi Sun,

Well, she is older than me, for sure, but she was the hottest female singer when I was a teen. LOL.

I remember "Like A Prayer" was really a big thing when I was in JC. Very controversial. I think the Church was thinking of excommunicating her.

She certainly puts many of us to shame with the kind of vitality she possesses at her age.

The Sun said...

Hi Ak,

Could not agree with you more on your point about Madonna's vitality. Not many pop singers can sustain that sort of momentum in their music careers like her over three decades (and counting)....

Whilst her hit single Like A Prayer is very controversial, perhaps you would like to remember some of her earlier hits such as Like A Virgin, Holiday, Borderline, Material Girl, etc. that has help make a pop icon she is today.

The Sun

AK71 said...

Hi Sun,

I have to confess that I didn't really take notice of Madonna until "Like A Prayer". ;p

Steven said...

Hi AK,
Sorry to go off topic. But China Minzhong dropped 24%.... seems like this morning's bad news affected it pretty badly... any thoughts?

AK71 said...

Hi Steven,

A friend SMS me news of the plunge when it was 86c but I didn't see the SMS. When I looked, it was already 66c. Shortly, it touched 50c! Very dramatic!

INVS 2.0 said...

'Foolish' is the word. :D

Elaine said...

Scary scary!!!

Steven said...


CMZ has just had a trading halt... looks bad... hope this is just a one off event and not permanent...

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Wah! So strong! -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi Elaine,

Tried the link. Couldn't access the document. Hmmm.

INVS 2.0 said...

But I do like the CLA and CLS for their coupe-like styling.

They will only come to me when I have attained more or less your level of income. :P

Steven said...

i got this link from BTinvest.

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Well, I am quite happy with my Mazda2 which is a practical choice and it is reliable enough. I don't know if I would ever buy a MB. Never say never though. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Steven,

I found it by searching for Glaucas Research earlier. Thanks for this anyway. :)

Steven said...

Cheers, AK!

INVS 2.0 said...

You drove a BMW 5 series before! So a MB A-class or CLA-class, which is equivalent of the 1-series, is too cheapo. :P

I do want to live a mercedes dream for once, a entry-level CLA will do. But looking at the COE and all kinds of vehicle taxes, I am better off with a bicycle. :D

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Oh my, you remember.

My younger and more foolish days... -.-"

Those days, a 520 cost less than $180k. I think that money will only get a 3 series today.

I will stick to my very cheapo Mazda2 for another 7 years. ;p

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