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The luxury car blues

The luxury car blues

Like most people, I enjoy reading about cars. So, when I saw an article in a newsstand magazine recently about the declining price of luxury cars I read it right away. The article, I thought, might tell me how I could trade in my boring-if-sturdy middle class car and finally realize my fantasy of owning a Mercedes.

Since college, when I owned a series of really cheap clunkers, including one without a reverse, I've thought it would be great to own a Mercedes. It wasn't one of those all-consuming passions. I never made ownership one of my life goals. But it was in the back of my mind and I have thought about it occasionally over the years.

The article brought the fantasy to the front of my mind. It said that luxury automakers were lowering prices to lure younger drivers. Okay, I'm not a younger driver, but maybe I could take advantage of their strategy. I already knew which model I would go for: the Mercedes C230 Kompressor.

It's a small four-cylinder car without many of the amenities you associate with the brand, but hey, it's a Mercedes, and the stripped-down version is only $25,000.

But wait a minute! The article talked about parents buying this very model for their high schoolers. What's going on here? I dream about cars with this nameplate, and some spoiled teenager actually gets to own and drive one.

Now, one set of parents claimed safety as the reason they gave their kid the car. The C230 has eight airbags. Well, if safety is the motivation, I might suggest walking. Or taking the bus. The former would be healthier, and the latter would introduce the teen to public transportation, which could help unclog roads and clean up our air.

Tell me I'm jealous, that I sound like sour grapes. You're right. But really: teenagers getting free of charge gifts adults can only dream about? Perhaps, they should be required to take the engines apart and put them back together. Then they would learn something, a gift in itself.

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