I recall one chat I had with some classmates during a break back in college. We saw a batchmate of ours driving a then current generation Mitsubishi Pajero, and we thought it was too much for a freshman like us to be driving such a big expensive car. At that time my classmates' college cars were Corollas, Liteaces, Lancers, and Civics. Back then I didn't bring a car to school because we only had one car in our family, and it was being used by my parents. I was only able to drive to school when my folks were out of the country.
A few months ago I attended the car show of the Atenean Car Enthusiasts club. I was introduced to one of their members, and he showed me his spanking new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (click this link for the car review), a car that set his dad back P7.280 million. (I think the term 'set back' is inappropriate though; I doubt if that amount even made a serious dent in his dad's checking account.)
I wasn't sure what to say to the kid. Despite his impressive car, I didn't feel impressed; I just felt there was something wrong with this picture. All I could wish Benz boy was that he better have good grades. He replied that they weren't really high, but now he had to study harder to be deserving of his college ride. So he got the reward before the hard work. That was a new concept.
I asked myself if I was just envious. Who didn't want a college car with 457 horses under the hood? But I wasn't envious; I was just incredulous. In the end I just felt it was too much for a college student to own a car that costs as much as a fancy condominium. It's not about whether the parents can afford it or not; it just sends the wrong message that it's easy to get super expensive items without working for it.
I recall our interview with our big boss, JG Summit president Lance Gokongwei, last year. Vernon and I asked him if he will give his son a college car when he grows up. He immediately said no. When his son grows up and earns money the kid can buy a car of his own--this coming from a man who can afford to give his son a different colored Benz for each day of the week.
The new school year is about to begin, and by now parents are visiting showrooms to check out a suitable college car for their kids. To the lucky students who are getting a brand new ride, here are some signs you may be getting a college car that's way more than you deserve.
1. It costs as much as prime real estate.
2. It's brand new and it bears the logo of Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, and Volvo.
3. The price is in the seven-digit region.
4. The engine runs on gasoline and is turbocharged.
5. Your car is a lot more expensive than all your professors' cars combined.
6. People ask you what business you own.
7. People ask why you're driving your dad's car.
8. Your car was bought in the gray market. (The logic behind this is most gray market cars are expensive models not available in our market.)
9. Your car's sound system is made by a high-end audio brand.
So, what was your college car?