In Canada people drive a Mercedes Benz or a BMW to show that they have arrived. They are luxury vehicles, favored by the rich and upwardly mobile. Owning one says you are an overachiever, one of the elite.
What qualifies as a luxury vehicle may be a little different here. Mercedes and BMW are both German manufacturers. I haven’t checked, but the vehicles are probably cheaper when you don’t have to pay the shipping costs to Canada or the USA. There are probably also models cheaper than then ones I am used to back home, manufactured for the domestic market.
About a decade ago we visited one of my wife’s relatives who drove a 1991 BMW that he was fond of. At least I think that is what it was. He extolled the virtues of the vehicle to me, and I had no reason to doubt his assessment. I got the impression he planned to keep the car forever.
I haven’t seen him yet on this trip, but I’m told he is still driving the same vehicle, which makes it 27 years old. That is impressive. You don’t have to worry about winter road salt eating away the body of your car, so it lasts longer here. It is also probably easier to get parts for domestic vehicles. Car ownership is about more than just sticker price, otherwise only the cheapest vehicles would sell.
However, you know a vehicle is common and reasonably priced when it is used for public transit. I had noticed it before, but it only just hit me: the city buses here are Mercedes. So much for being a luxury vehicle – I take one to my language lessons, and it only costs €2.30. I may not be driving a luxury vehicle, but I ride in one every day. With a chauffeur no less.
Does that make me one of the elite?