Let us take a moment, dear worst-reader, to contemplate the dilemmas of the few & far-between. Or, as I like to put it: let’s have a go at the problems of the Autobahn bourgeoisie. For it is that time of season once again. Like the periodical cicada I experienced in my youth, it’s a good thing the season I’m referring to here doesn’t happen regularly. Those cicadas were a bitch, especially if you drove a motorcycle. Getting hit with a flying cicada while driving fifty-five mph on a Honda is nothing to shake a stick at. Nomatter.
The season we’re dealing with today takes place every three to four years in my expat host country Germania. (Periodical cicada season takes place every thirteen to fourteen years, btw, back home in MD.) I’m referring, of course, to new car season. In Germany most cars that you see zooming down the no speed limit Autobahns are not bought. Most cars that can’t speed might be bought. That is, super German autos are not owned by the person driving. They are, instead, rented. Or. They’re on loan. Ok. The politically correct vernacular here is leased or company car. Got that? Wait. Let me confuse a bit more.
More than half of all German mass produced luxury cars, i.e. Porsche, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and some higher-end Volkswagons, etc., serve not only the whims of what’s left of the war-torn patriarchal and testosterone driven society, allowing men to get their kicks trying to navigate left lanes of extremely well built but trafficked roads, but literally holds up an industry that could otherwise not exist. And since these cars cannot be owned–because no one can afford them with the money Germania pays people to have a living standard–the brilliant centralised mechanism of Germania has come up with a great substitute alleviating the necessity and burden of ownership. The simple fact is, not unlike the US and other spoiled first-world countries, and with the advent of supply-side economics, political cronyism and laissez-fairy corporatism, it is not possible to calculate the cost of manufacturing anymore–let alone figure out how to finance products that need be consumed. Again. If a car is actually owned in Germania it was purchased used and it was paid off in a relatively short period of time (compared to high-finance leasing). Which also means that the buyer is hell-spent out of cash and unless s/he wins the lottery there will be no new car bought anytime soon. This is what most early retirees are forced to do–and in the near future more of the cost burden of these cars will fall on the consumer. But I don’t want to get too far off topic with that.
The simple reality of new cars in most of the world today is that actual ownership has been (smoothly) replaced by monthly rent/leasing rates. Boy, how things have changed, eh. I mean. I can remember a time when you could take cash out of the bank and buy a car. After that wasn’t enough you simply financed a car with a hefty penalty of interest for about four years–but the piece of krapp was eventually paid off. When the hefty penalty of those early finance days wasn’t enough for the corporate greed mongers, finance rates/time were increased to seven years. As usual, that too wasn’t enough. The smart-asses of finance realised that they had to find another means to get new cars into the hands of the supply-side new & improved bourgeoisie. Enter a sub-permanent consumer state of car renting/leasing. Wow!
In the near future you will never own anything. -worstwriter
Since Germania is to an extreme dependent on the selling (Absatzvolumen) of lots of cars, the Ordnung-state of Automatons that love cars more than anything, has adopted leasing to the extreme. Which brings me full circle regarding this worst-post. Well, it brings me full-circle with the car thing but the cicada thing I’m gonna have to leave hanging. Nomatter. The whole thing behind being permanent rental consumers is that it too has gotten too expensive. People can no longer afford the rental rates. So what does the centralised Automaton corporate state do? That’s right. It integrates more centralisation plus taxation into the game. That is, as far as taxation goes, the Germania government, knowing how dependent things are on car production, does a bit of tax trickery to solve what is ultimately a long, long, long term consumption problem. For the consumer the monthly rental rates are reduced albeit only slightly. Everything stays pretty much the same for manufacturer but s/he and shareholders probably have to forgo any extreme profits. But here comes the centralised part–and the part involving the sad, sad, sad (sarcasm off) problems of the new & improved bourgeoisie. Now get this. When you lease a car, which involves a very complicated process that diligently gives off the impression that you have choices, you ultimately have no choice. Centralised has already determined the cars you may choose from. And for that most of us new & improved bourgeoisie commoners are happy. Or. If you’re worst-writer, you laugh at the whole thing and question, question, question–and then just wait till you can enjoy that new car smell which, for us, should happen before the end of this year.
Now that we are fully engulfed in the illusion of consumer choice, we spent the early part of today visiting dealers where would could orient our desires. We looked at Mercedes, Audi and VWs (in that order). Even though we’ll probably go with another Audi, it looks like we’re gonna take an outdated series A5 sportback. It’s basically the same as our A4 All-Road Quattra except the A5 looks a bit sleaker and meaner. The only VW I like is the Passat CC but the two dealers we visited didn’t have one to show and my wife doesn’t really like it. Which brings me to Mercedes and the pics above (that motivated this worst-post). As I said, it is very complicated picking a new car to lease that is regulated by a middleman that is regulated by a centralised society. And I know there are many out there in worst-wonderland that wish they could have our problems. Still. I went to Mercedes with lots of enthusiasm. We could easily afford the monthly rate of a Mercedes that is in the same class as the Audi A4. That would be the C-Klasse, G-Klasse and even a not-so loaded E-Klasse (which actually more of an Audi A6 class). But none of that class shit matters. Because I was shocked at what Mercedes had to offer. In short, take a look at the pics above. Two model years of a CLA Mercedes Benz. The pic on the top is of the newest version, the one below a version of the CLA that is no longer available. So I’m sitting in the new Mercedes, measuring it up, feeling kinda cool, imagining a cruise down the Königsallee. This car is based on the C-Klasse but is a bit sportier. Then I look up and see a “attached” monitor that is supposed to show the driver the entire multi-media experience of the car. I couldn’t stop staring at the thing because it looked so incredibly out of place. I turned to the sales agent and said:
Dude, did the engineers at Mercedes forget they had to put a monitor in this thing and at the last minute threw this in it? You’ve gotta be kidding me.
The picture at the bottom is of a previous year of the same car and of course is no longer available. Audi here we come (again). Rant on. -Tommi