autoevolution

Car Trim Levels Suffer from Twin Sister Syndrome

You know how all twins are exactly the same… but somehow not exactly the same. I had a teacher in high school like that. She had a slightly better looking twin who married a rich guy, while she went to work every day and had her liver destroyed by a bunch of kids who would never shut up during class. True story!
Genetically speaking, my teacher and her slightly hotter sister were identical, two equal halves of the same apple, made on the same assembly line using the same materials and by the same two people. But a few split ends, a shade of white for the teeth and better use of makeup, jewelry and clothes separated them and made the twin sisters like night and day to most men.

As some of you might have noticed, whenever we get bored of talking about amazing supercars, we like to give a bit of sensible advice here and there to people who are holding regular 9 to five jobs. These fine folks who keep the Lambo owners clothed and fed usually buy B- and C-segment hatchbacks or sedans from mainstream companies, your Toyota, your Ford and so on.

I’ve noticed those cars are a little bit like my teacher and her sister. You have no idea where I’m going with this one, do you?… Here goes.

Anybody who’s ever actually bought a brand new car for himself will have noticed how misleading and deceitful configurator (builders) are. The photos and test car your dealer shows you is basically nothing like what you eventually get. The one you fall in love with is the pretty one with nice details, but when delivery day comes three months later she looks like your high school teacher. Oh dear!

I’ve kind of talked about this before, but it’s still a cool factoid for you guys. The way Renault, Ford or Volkswagen makes money when you buy a car is by guilt-tripping you with the options list. You’re pulled in by the fancy TV ads only to realize options will add another 40% to your that magic 99 cent price if you want that very car you fell in love with. The cheapest Ford Fiesta you can buy for example has no alloy wheels, no equipable chrome trim and its standard color might as well be called Boring Blue.

The ugly Trend and the uber-sexy Titanium are basically identical, two equal halves of the same apple, made on the same assembly line using the same materials and by the same people, but to get from one to the other you have to pay about €4,000, or a third of list price. When you finally manage to the hot Fiesta you actually want to mary, it demands you buy her €500 worth of shiny paint and treat her like a princess. You can never win this battle to keep you bank account intact, which is why I call this the “Twin Sister Syndrome”… like the sickness that it is.

Even though chrome trim and alloy wheels don’t seem significant, not having them can be quite depressing. It makes you doubt your value, think that you’re not successful enough in a way. Why is you get fooled into buying the expensive one, packed with toys you don’t actually want or need.

Even supercars are doing it. I’ve never bought a Lamborghini Aventador myself (big surprise) but have been told the base model is still a school teacher in dier need of makeup and jewelry.

The phenomenon has gotten so bad the past year or so that whenever a new car is shown I wonder how it will look with steel wheels and a beige paintjob. I’m not saying that it’s not right to give us options, but only a few cars out there look right in their budget forms and that’s simply misleading for the customers.(
Sell me a $40,000 MINI Coupe with restricted rear visibility and no parking sensors? Shame on you. Sell me a $40,000 SUV that comes pretty much loaded, unlike the competition? Shame on me for not knowing this from the beginning.

I’m just saying car ads should have a bit of shame when showing fully equipped models costing twice as much as the “starting at just…” price. And maybe next time you’re sitting in a dealership, drinking free coffee, you too will look at that sexy red car with navigation and 20-inch wheels and say to yourself “Boy, I wonder where they keep the ugly twin. I need to look at that before I fall in love with miss sassy here.”

 
 
 
 
 

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