Some Holiday Thoughts from Joe Farace
I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need—Mariah Carey
…is a car.
It has been a little more than two years since I said goodbye to my Mercedes Benz CLA 250. And I don’t miss it. In fact, don’t miss any of the cars that I’ve owned with the exception of my 1968 Porsche 912 and 1984 Jeep Wagoneer. Like Tyler Hoover has said many times, its seems that all recent German luxury cars, including BMW and Audi. are moving away from high quality materials and build quality to focus on electronics.
The CLA while relatively attractive looked so generic that when my neighbor Freddy came over to look at it, he told me that from across the street he couldn’t tell if it was an Acura, Lexus or even an Accord. Yikes! If I had purchased the less expensive Accord the ownership experience would have been more pleasant and maintenance costs would have been less. These days the homogeneity of design is epidemic and most cars and especially SUVs look alike. Have you taken a peek at any of the new Jaguar sedans? When the XJ40 was launched in 1986 Prince Philip while looking at it reportedly said, “Thanks God it still looks like a Jaguar.” Now that he’s no longer driving, I don’t know what he would think of their current generation of boring-looking sedans.
The Myth of German Quality: Bloomberg, in their article, The Worst Luxury Cars of 2020, featured the $161,550 Mercedes-Maybach GLS stating, “I wondered why, when the decidedly cooler S-Class already exists, anyone would buy this vehicle in the first place.” Also on the list: Porsche’s 911 Speedster. Bloomergs’ Hannah Elliott exclaimed, “the now-irrelevant Speedster felt woefully behind the times—and not yet old enough to be cool again.” Sadly Devon Dalio, co-founder/partner at P-Squared Private Equity, died when his Audi crashed into a Verizon store in a shopping center recently and burst into flames like a scene from a Lethal Weapon movie. Burst into flames? German build quality?
Since I still am driving my wife’s 2016 VW Beetle Convertible, there are two cars that are currently on my radar, hopefully for next year. To be honest only one of them is on my Christmas list, an Audi Allroad of 2013-2014 vintage, which I consider to be the anti-SUV. The other car that’s on Mary’s Christmas List for me is a Range Rover Sport. Before I address the first question that just popped into your head, I want to address one that just popped into my head; consider it another Farace’s Law or maybe just Farace’s Bad Luck: Every time I’ve purchased a car that I really didn’t want to buy but had my arm twisted by a woman, it has been an unhappy experience. In Mary’s case it was a Porsche 924 that could have been a nice car but the costs of maintenance and repairs quickly exceeded the purchase price, much like her VW Cabriolet (which she loved, by the way.) The CLA 250 was another one of her picks and another Mercedes Benz she insisted on was a ML350 diesel SUV. It was dependable enough but I didn’t enjoy driving it, which was pretty much the same experience I has with a 2-door Range Rover Evoque. But that was my purchase, so my bad. I guess I’m not an SUV guy.
On your mind: OK, I know that both of these cars are well-known nightmares when it comes to the cost of maintenance and especially repairs. But let me tell you this: I owned that very same Evoque for three years and my only expense during that time was for oil changes and a set of tires. My neighbor, Tommy, on the other hand, liked mine so much he bought a 4-door Evoque. His was more of the typical Range Rover experience and he now drives a Toyota Tundra.
If I buy either car, it will be from CarMax and with the CarMax extended warranty. If you familiar with Doug DeMuro’s experience with a CarMax extended warranty on a Range Rover you know this long-term warranty can be a good idea. especially for cars like these that have a checkered repair history. You don’t need this warranty for an Accord or probably any Japanese car but German and English cars are another story and, I think, it represents a smart investment.
These are just a couple of cars that I can’t afford and vehicles I don’t think Santa has on his Christmas list for me. And I think I’ve been a good boy. I hope that Santa has lots of goodies for you in his bag and hope that all of you have the Merriest of Christmases.
PS. And if you’re wondering why I don’t just buy a nice low mileage Accord, here’s why. Whatever kind of car I buy next might be the last car that I own at for a long time. And I would be prefer that it has some character. OK, so maybe I’m nuts…
Since I can’t afford either car and If you enjoyed today’s blog post and would like to treat Joe to a cup of Earl Grey tea ($2.50), click here. And if you do, thank you.