By on December 24, 2010

They’re a fixture of holiday television: car ads showing a loving family member presenting a new car as a Christmas gift, complete with an oversized red bow. But is there any truth to this popular advertising cliche? CNW Marketing Research says nearly 57k new and used cars will be given as gifts during this holiday season, but I sure don’t know anyone who has given or received a car (let alone a new luxury car) for Christmas… do you?

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38 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Does Anyone Actually Give Cars As Christmas Gifts?...”

  • avatar

    Yes, but all of them are limited to a child’s first car on the Christmas usually following their 16th birthday.
    I’ve never seen one adult buy a car for another adult and stick a bow on the hood. And probably for good reason–my wife and I have a “mutual kill” agreement for any major, unilateral purchases :P

  • avatar

    Apart from giving good used cars to newly-licensed kids, any others I have “gifted” were because I didn’t want any bad feelings over a vehicle I didn’t like or trust.

  • avatar

    Those ads are really saying:
    “You know nobody will buy you a car, so why don’t you buy one for yourself”

  • avatar

    Just a hold over from the over-indulgent Reagan-era (see Dynasty).  I think this is the last year that we will see such unrealistic(aspirational) marketing efforts since we are finally moving to an era of frugality (hopefully living within our means).

    • 0 avatar

      This is a joke, right? There are 15-20 million unemployed that would love to go back to the so-called “self-indulgent” Reagan era, which by the way saw the greatest expansion in charitable giving in inflation adjusted dollars.

  • avatar

    A healthy percentage of the nation’s number one selling car have been given as Christmas gifts.,2933,525318,00.html

  • avatar

    First thing out of my advisor’s mouth when he was back to the office last year: “My crazy wife bought me a Porche.”
    And she had.

  • avatar

    On my budget, I am unlikely to ever give a car as a gift. I was only half joking when I told my ex she could have a $350 Dodge B-van for xmas a few years ago — it’s the best I could do.

  • avatar

    I’ve had multiple customers buy a car as a ‘gift’ for someone when they were going to be getting a car anyway, and just decided to call it a Christmas gift because of the timing.
    I’ve had two instances where the car was purchased as an actual surprise Christmas gift – once last year when a gentleman bought a new car for his parents, and one this year when a man bought a car for his wife who had been previously stuck taking the bus.  Both times the car in question was a Focus.

  • avatar

    Sold an ’02 Cabrio, ’02 Mustang, and ’01 Aztek as Christmas gifts. The Aztek was for a 16 year-old girl, the Mustang for a finance, and the Cabrio for a young man coming out of Army infantry (?!).

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I bought my wife a car for Christmas.

    I took delivery in early November and stashed it in a spare garage at work. Then I started to think. She doesn’t even have a driver’s license! How is she going to get one in January slipping and sliding in the Great White North? The car was depreciating, eating the insurance premium and not being driven. Didn’t make any kind of sense.
    I gave it to her early. She learned how to drive, got her license and was driving it by Christmas.

    Still don’t know where they get those big red bows.

  • avatar

    Some years ago I knew a father who bought three identical Nissan Maximas for his wife and two children. He stored them in my driveway for ten days before Christmas, which caused quite  a stir in my neighborhood because I already had two cars of my own.

    After midnight on Christmas morning I and a friend ferried them over to his house so all three cars would be sitting in the driveway at sunrise.

    Me? I’m still waiting for Santa to bring me a go-cart.

  • avatar

    I used to give cars to the kids all of the time. They were the best, incredible fuel mileage, virtually unbreakable, no rust, never needed tires… There was one problem, though. You couldn’t drive them.
    They were all 1/64th scale Hot Wheels.

  • avatar

    I gave my parents a new car back in 2008.  Had it trucked to their front door on Dec 24. No giant bow though… turns out those things are hard to find.
    Incentives around Xmas time are the bomb… $44K sticker transacted for the the mid $20s after tax and delivery.

    Edit: turns out you can get them online now. Based on the frequency that they are “sold out” I’m guessing there were quite a few large car-gifts this Xmas.

    • 0 avatar

      The point about the incentives is right on.  I bought my last two cars around Christmas time — one a CPO Lexus at one of their “December to remember” events in 2001 (still driving it :), and the other one just this week, a used F150 from someone who was unloading it after just having bought himself a new car (VW) using December incentives.
      It does seem that December is a good time for used car shopping, after everyone buys their new cars on the December incentives.

  • avatar

    I timed the purchase of my wife’s last car to be on her birthday – but it wasn’t a surprise. We had been looking, and she went with me to the lot to make sure colour, options, etc, were right; the B-day was more of a trigger to stop looking and just hit the bid.  The dealership did put a big bow on it, though.  Some years ago, we signed the contract to build our new house on our anniversary – I still ask her how many of her friends have ever gotten a house as an anniversary gift.

    • 0 avatar

      A friend of mine has a saying, “Every seven or eight years, meet a woman you’re eventually going to hate, and buy her a new house.”
      The divorced guys all laugh, sort of…

  • avatar

    My friend Spike, and his brother returned to Cornell after Christmas vacation in matching BRG Sprites, sans ribbon.

  • avatar

    I don’t know anyone who has ever given or received a car for Christmas.  However, on two occasions while I was growing up my dad had to shop for a car between Christmas and New Years because the old one was about to die on us, so having a new car around Christmas is one of my childhood memories.
    Living in Wisconsin, this is a bad time of year to get a new car since the the snow and slush on the roads keeps it dirty for three to four months and the cold temperatures mean you can’t get it washed as often as you’d like.

  • avatar

    Yes, people receive automobiles for Christmas. Sint brought me one last year. A beautiful sparkly black 2008 PT Cruiser! It wasn’t a huge surprise, because I had to go to the dealership to sign the papers– but there you have it. There was a pretty bow on the folder that contained all the paperwork and the like :)
    It’s fun to pretend other people can’t possibly have more than us– but once in a while– it’s not living outside one’s means to be spoiled.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Gave my wife a turbo Solstice a couple years ago. Friend of mine just gave his wife one of those Mopar-branded Challengers today.

  • avatar

    I bought myself a Chevy Avalanche Z-71 with every option in 2001 as a Christmas present to myself.
    Personally, I’ve found the Merc and Lexus ads in particular to be absolutely obnoxious.  My significant others face would not light up with delight with an Asian or Euro luxo sled in the driveway.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Ummmmm no.  I don’t even ever expect to receive an old Panther or B-body for Christmas.  And that’s perfectly OK.

  • avatar

    It was Xmas 1970. In early October that year my dad had caught me driving my 62 Pontiac with expired insurance. Dad had taken my licence plates off,with a long lecture about how he could lose everthing,cause I was such a little a$$hole. We didn’t speak much that fall.

    I turned 17 on Dec 22,and I had asked dad to borrow his 68 Chevy,so I could visit my girlfriend.

    “Drive your own” said my Dad and handed me a six month insurance slip. “Thats your Xmas and your Birthday present, and don’t ever drive a car without insurance again”

    That was 40 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

  • avatar

    Yes, I received a car as a Christmas present. It came with pedals, not an engine.

  • avatar

    I was joking with my wife about these commercials since I just bought new tires from an online seller.  They got delivered to my house, and I thought about setting them up in the house, where they would be about where a car’s wheels would be, and a big red bow on the floor in the middle.
    So close… and yet so far…

  • avatar

    I gave my sister a classic VW microbus for Christmas quite a few years ago. I don’t think it’s a terribly unusual occurrence.

  • avatar

    I like the idea of it, but I don’t think anyone I’d know would want zero input into what car they drive (except children who get what their parents give them).

  • avatar

    I did! Sort of.

    I got mine in October as a combination Christmas/graduation gift…but mostly because my parents were sick of fixing the “Failtima.” It also kind of served as a nice reminder that if I didn’t get out of college this semester, I’d be stuck walking everywhere until the end of time. :oP

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    I bought my 79 year old mother a new Ford Focus, but it was more out of necessity. In the past four years, she has since backed into two garages, drove into another car, and has other unexplained marks on her front bumper. I plan to pull her driving privileges after the holidays.

  • avatar

    Ho ho! If I were to ever surprise Mrs. Monty with a car for a Christmas gift, I had better buy something I could sleep in for a few nights.

    Personally, I consider giving gifts like that a self-indulgent act, not really in the spirit of giving. Some of the best gifts I have ever given were home made or inexpensive, but needed or appropriate.

    Edited to add: Merry Christmas! If you’re wondering what I’m doing posting at 6 AM on Christmas morning, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Fargo ND waiting for Mrs. Monty to awaken. We decided to forego the entire tension filled family gathering and treat ourselves to a trip to Minneapolis to catch some NHL games and imbibe some inexpensive, much-lower taxed American liquor.

    This year, no presents to each other. It’s become our new tradition. Last year it was Phoenix for a NFL and NHL game, and next year it’s going to be either Tampa Bay or Indianapolis for a NFL game and hockey game.

  • avatar

    In December ’05, I bought my wife a Honda Pilot for Christmas. Managed to confuse her enough with a BS story about loaning her old car to a colleague so that she was completely surprised. Did the red bow and everything. Turned out to be a good gift, too: with only routine maintenance, it’s done 108K miles, and it runs like a new car.

  • avatar

    If anyone wants to get me a Mazda B1600/B1800, then let me know so I can the address for the delivery. Red bow on the hood is at your discretion.

  • avatar

    While waiting for bar results I had a brief stint selling Toyotas (March – May). I personally only sold 1 vehicle that was to be a gift – a (then) brand new black 2008 Toyota Tacoma crew cab as a birthday/graduation gift to this couple’s (lucky) daughter.

    Regarding the big red bows – most dealerships have them in them in make-ready, just have to ask for one.

  • avatar

    Over the years I’ve sold a lot of cars to customers that where christmas gifts and birthday gifts to a spouse, child, parents etc..  I even had a customer buy a red boxster just for a christmas photo.  You can get the bows at just about any florist they are around 30 bucks. Whats amazing is how many of them are heat of the moment type deals where they were in for service or something and stop in my office to say hi or talk cars and end up springing on a christmas gift for their wife. One thing i have never had is a wife buy a car for a husband. Its always the man buying for kids, wife, etc. Also a very high percentage of these deals are gay couples for some reason. I forget which, but one year I sold 3 TT roadsters to men suprising their partner on christmas.  Actually now that I think about it, i sold an SLK to a women who was buying it as a Bday suprise for her husband who had graduated law school that year.  She bought it 4 months before his b-day.  She was a tough sell and we became pretty close over the week or so it took for me to close her.  We had built a lot of rapport between each other so I let her store/hide it in my personal garage since I had room at the time. She ended up cracking and gave it to him a month early.

  • avatar

    I was given a car as a gift once. It required all new brake lines, welding to the sills (rocker panels as you call them over here) and new brake disks (rotors) and pads. By the time I got it roadworthy again it had cost me as much as it would have to buy one in running order. Not long after that I blew the engine up.

  • avatar

    I’ve never known anyone who has gotten a car as a Christmas gift. 16th birthday, but not Christmas. My parents did however buy a new Lexus around Christmas-time one year. My Mom wanted one of those big bows on it, like from the commercials. The dealer said they didn’t do that, except for one they had on display at the dealership, which they would sell her – for $1000. Merry Christmas indeed.

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