The Checkout

In Search of First-Time Luxury Car Owners

Hi all. I'm in need of some reporting help. I know it can be ugly seeing how the sausage gets made, but bare with me. I wouldn't be bugging you if I wasn't getting desperate.

I'm working on a story about the ins and outs of owning a luxury car and I'm looking to interview local, first-time luxury car owners. I have found umpteen local owners--lovely people all--who unfortunately are on luxury car no. 2 or 3 by now.

The reason I'm looking for first-timers is because carmakers have of late been aggressively courting them by offering more "entry-level" luxury vehicles.

Folks who aren't camera shy are a plus! You can reach me at thecheckout@washpost.com.

Many thank yous in advance.

By Annys Shin |  October 31, 2006; 1:51 PM ET Reporting Query
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Comments

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"I know it can be ugly seeing how the sausage gets made, but bare with me"

That might be ugly, but seeing the two of us togehter in the "bare" might even be uglier.

The word is "bear", meaning to put up with, be patient with, etc. not "bare", which means to be naked, without clothes or adornment, etc.

Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!

Posted by: In the "Bare"?!? | November 1, 2006 9:55 AM

Actually, having noticed the photo of Ms. Shin at the top of the blog,"bare" works for me.

Posted by: Im Ready | November 1, 2006 11:37 AM

Bare...lol.

I just sold my 1st luxury car. Ok, so I bought it used, but hey it still drove a lot cushier than anything else I'd been in! It was a 1989 Lincoln Towncar... the last of the old boats- and it really did float down the road. If it weren't for the fact that I only paid $2000 for it, I certainly wouldn't have had a "luxury car" through college. The appeal the luxury car has to me is that it is a lot less painful to drive on long road-trips. The example I have is I once drove a 2001 Hyundai Elantra for 6 hours and was in a lot more pain than when I drove my old Towncar for a trip from the east coast of Florida to Southern Illinois. With cushy seats, and better features they are an appealing alternative- but I don't think I would ever pay $40-50k or more for one. I'll stick with buying used since they depriciate so quickly. I saved money by not making car payments, and only had to make minimal repairs. The drain was having to fill up a hungry V-8, but again, since I wasn't making payments, it wasn't as big a deal.

Posted by: Chris | November 1, 2006 12:36 PM

Does my '93 Jetta count? No? Oh...ok.

Posted by: h3 | November 1, 2006 2:04 PM

After driving a bare-bones 1994 Saturn SL1 from 1998 to 2005, my 2006 Mazda 3 (S + touring package) feels like a luxury car to me, but might not meet Georgetown/Potomac/McLean et al's standard of luxury. I look forward to the article -I hear the rich are different from you and me :-)

Posted by: Gretchen | November 1, 2006 4:25 PM

Putting tons of money into a luxury car? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Suppose you have $60-80,000 to spend on a car. You decide to put it all into a Jaguar or Mercedes. A car depreciates in value the instant you plunk your butt on that fine leather seat. So, you've go all that money tied up in something that rapidly falls in value. Why not buy a cheaper car, say for $15-20,000, and put the excess $45-60,000 in another investment like land or a house which appreciate rapidly in value? Shoot, if I had that much for a luxury car, I'd go back to college and drive a Hyundai. My mother didn't raise an idiot.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | November 2, 2006 9:11 AM

I bought a Honda S2000 as a college graduation gift for myself after having only owned Saturns, a chevy lumina, and a plymouth reliant since getting my license. I'd graduated with no debt, and my fiance and I needed a second car (we have a 2003 Jetta Wolfsburg...a trade for our last Saturn), so I got to get this hot rod after origianlly looking at the VW Golf. What a departure! I look at it as a choice between driving a car that brings a smile to your face (it's FUN to drive that little roadster!) and having kids :-)

I don't know if this qualifies as a luxury car, and we bought it used (it's a 2002), but I sure do feel super rich when I get behind the wheel...that and a little devilish...zip zip zip...vROOOOOM!

I'd take it over a Bimmer or Benz any day...they eat my dust as it is.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | November 2, 2006 2:29 PM

I bought a 2001 Lexus IS300 a few months after the line made its debut for Lexus in '01. Prior to that I owned a '93 Mazda RX-7 and although the car was gorgeous and well cared for it was in and out of the shop practically every other month at a minimum cost of $300 a visit.
I first saw the IS300 in a Road&Track preview issue and decided to check it out in person. Having never owned a "Luxury Car" I was a bit hesitant. After about 5 hours of haggling, which was painful, I traded in the RX-7 and walked out with a Millenium Silver IS300 for $33K. I still own this car to date and have absolutely no regrets. The extra money I spent on this car initially has well been made up with the lack of problems and dealership visits that I would have had to spend on a lesser car. Plus the dealership (when I do take it for REGULAR service) has been top notch and provides free loaners..which you won't get with a non-luxo car dealer.

Posted by: D Murray | November 9, 2006 10:43 AM

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