I am not sure what other people's motives are on this subject, I just know my reasons for having done this very thing. Intentionally.
Years before I had gotten into the trading up cycle. When you finance a new or new-to-you car and keep it a little while, then trade it in and roll whatever the difference was (because you hadn't paid down enough to gain equity, because you didn't keep it long enough) into the new vehicle. I honestly just really only cared about 'How much is the payment?'. If it was what I thought I could handle, I did it. Instant gratification and I'm zipping around in new wheels. Wooohoo!!!
On and on and on it went. I didn't keep wheels for very long. I didn't look at the overall cost of doing it this way. I didn't care, I was in a 'I want it now!' thinking mentality. I was stupid.
Eventually, I woke up. When that light bulb went off I was saddled with a vehicle that was maybe worth $18k but owed over $24k to the bank for it. Umm... yeah. (Hey, I already admitted I was stupid lol). I paid dearly to get that to where I had enough equity in it to get rid of it and it's high payment and high insurance.
After the hardship of getting out of that cycle, including an entire Christmas bonus over $7k put entirely on that vehicle, I swore I wouldn't get in to that trap again. Yeah, good intentions and all...
What is the purpose of a vehicle, anyways? It is a means to get from Point A to Point B in a safe manner. The extras are climate control, a gajillion safety (needed? that's a different story for some other time) features, and keeping the nasty weather elements off of you. I can't even stomach the thought of how much I have spent in my 43 years on just a way to get from Point A to Point B.
Most people have vehicles they drive that are financed. A huge chunk of their income goes to having a means to get from Point A to Point B. But it can't be an economical basic vehicle, noooo... they gotta look good. ;) Impress the coworkers and such. So they pay, and pay, and pay... on a depreciating asset. I'm not judging, I was sooo like this! But I just can't be like that anymore.
There's a saying that goes something like 'We go to work at jobs we hate to buy stuff to impress people that we don't even like'. How true. Let's say a group decides to meet at IHop for breakfast one morning. Who CARES how you arrived at your destination. Ferrari, Hummer, Mini Cooper, Caprice, Pinto, bicycle, or your damn feet. Everyone got there and walked in the same damn door. Yet a ton of money is spent over a lifetime trying to impress the dude that walked in in front of you or behind you at IHop.
Is it advertising that has us so insecure in ourselves that we feel the need to spend large sums of our money in order to look good while driving down the road? Let's take the above example: A Ferrari and a Pinto are driving down the road.. they are both going 40mph because that is the speed limit. Which one has more self confidence? How much self worth does the guy driving the Pinto possess? The guy driving the Ferrari? Which one has more balls? These are the weird things that go on in my brain. Yeah, I like to question everything.
As for me, after all the stupid.. where am I at today? Vehicle-wise, my daily driver is an 8 year old Pontiac Vibe that I found for $1500. I put some mechanical work into it to get her in shape and repaired some non-essential things for driving that I do like to have like new radio, cruise control repaired, and windows tinted. But, I did research the heck out of these little cars for a few years before I stumbled on this deal. Last fill up I calculated 28.88 mpg with town and highway miles. Gotta love when Pontiac teamed up with Toyota for these little gems, I got Pontiac's cool styling and also got a Toyota Corolla 4 cylinder motor. Even though it has 138k miles on her, with proper maintenance it should last a long while. Plus, I can haul the shit out of things in the back!! The back seats lay flat enough I can car camp in it, even. We put it next to my daughter's VW Bug and it's the same size. Zippy, little, great on gas, and amazing hauling capacity. Plus, it's older, insurance was cheaper. Plus, it's Pontiac, so the local GM dealership will work on it when needed (unlike my previous Honda Accord, rural Oklahoma doesn't have anyone that would touch it, not cool if broke down where I live grr...). Plus, the depreciation hit is gone. Plus, it isn't in pristine condition, I do not have a conniption fit if I get a scratch or ding. Hmm.. should I add in more plus's? haha
I just think she's just so darn cute!! Insurance was fairly cheap, like $132 for 6 months. I only keep liability on her, perks of having a cheap car, the world doesn't end if it's totaled.
Then I also have the van. Bought for $2550 and 19 years old, the depreciation hit has already happened. Spent $700 on parts and labor for tune up and other things to keep her running smoothly. Insurance was cheap, like $140 for 6 months. The gas mileage I haven't really tried out yet, but from researching it appears I will get around 16mpg average highway/town miles. Crappy mileage, yeah, but for it's purpose, for my travels, will also serve as my living quarters negating the need for hotels, saving me money. Plus, no bed bugs. :)
Neither one of these are new. Who cares? Honestly, if a friend ditched me because of what I'm driving, I am glad to be rid of them. Both vehicles are mine, they are paid for, insurance is cheap, and right now (knock on wood) are driving perfectly. I just can't see having something worth a whole lot of money sitting in the driveway depreciating.
I would like to believe, as a person, I am more than just what I drive. Shouldn't we all be? Keep your Ferrari! ;)