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Disclaimer: This thought process is entirely based on you keeping the best/most expensive car for a longer period of time than a “regular” car. But if you always want to change your car every 5 years, this thread is not for you.

Have you ever wondered how and why I keep my cars for so long? It’s simple = I buy the best car, even if it is more expensive at the start, but keeps it for 9 – 10 years (it is very EASY to keep a first class car for longer). Yes, it might cost more upfront, but it’s cheaper in the long run. Why is that? Read this thread – Depreciation – The Silent Killer.

Thread Summary: Buy a “great” car and use it for 8-10 years instead of buying “good” cars and replacing them every 5 years.

Point #1
Let me start the thread with an example. Someone I know bought a Swift in 2009, then bought a City in 2014 and finally a Creta in 2017 (which he now drives). This is a COLOSSAL WASTE of money in my eyes. He suffered massive depreciation every time he sold his perfectly functioning 5-year-old Swift and 3-year-old City. Related Topic = Keep, Upgrade, or Sell Your 5-Year-Old Car?. If he had asked me for a recommendation, I would have told him to buy a City in 2009 itself! Sure, it would have cost a lot more than the Swift, but in the long run it would be significantly cheaper than what it did.

Item 2
I’ll give you another example. Let’s say you’re considering buying a WagonR today and you’ve already thought about a compact SUV 4-5 years from now. Well, I’ll tell you to get this compact SUV instead. Wait if you have to (to accumulate more funds), but it will be cheaper than spending 5.5 lakhs on a WagonR today, selling it for 3.25 lakhs in 2024 and then buying a compact SUV at 10 lakh rupees. What will cost you less is to spend 4.5 lakhs more on the compact SUV today and keep it for a long time (Personally, I prefer to keep my cars for 8 to 10 years). Do the math – it’s very simple and it will blow your mind. If you are considering a Maruti Dzire for 10 lakhs today and you feel like buying a town for 16 lakhs after 5 years, I will advise you to buy this town instead. If your financial situation is secure and you are absolutely sure to keep the car for the long term, take a longer loan term (if necessary)… but anyway, keep the City longer on a 6 year loan will be cheaper than replacing your Dzire after 4-5 years.

Item #3
Added bonus from the above = You will drive a superior car for 8-10 years (compact SUV instead of a WagonR, or city instead of a Dzire). It will inevitably be safer, faster, higher quality, more spacious, more manageable, etc. The real question is = would you rather drive two good cars over 8-10 years, or a BIG car for the same duration?

Item #4
If you buy a superior car today, i can guarantee that you will keep it longer. All other factors being the same, it will be much easier for you to maintain a great car for 8-10 years (compared to a regular/mediocre car). Do you know why I kept my Civic until she was 8 years old? Because even in 2015, this 2007 Civic was not outdated at all. In terms of space, power, quality and safety, it met the (then) current generation of cars. My 530d is 6 years old today. Guess what? It’s still pretty darn competent, even by today’s standards or if you compare it to the new G30. I will keep her until she is 10 years old. Take a look at the photo above = a car like the Compass 2.0 Diesel is worth keeping for 10 years… the Jeep won’t feel outdated or boring even in 2029.

Item #5
In order for you to keep the car longer, it is essential to buy wisely and select the right model. Consider the Jetta = Is there a D-segment sedan, even today, that’s better than this VW? Not in my books. This is probably why Jetta owners happily keep their 7 and 8 year old cars (my brother is one of them). The Creta is another example – it may be 4 years old, but it’s still competent by today’s standards. I don’t think a Creta owner will find his car obsolete. Again, be sure to choose the right template that will remain relevant for a long time.

Item #6
Ask me and I’ll go on and on. I know many 3rd Gen City owners (including so many BHPians) who didn’t feel the need to “upgrade” to the 4th Gen City which offered little more than gimmicks, in the name of upgrades. However, if they had bought a Dzire then (instead of 3rd Gen Town), they would probably want to upgrade. Guess who saved money in the long run? The one who bought a City and owned it for a long time (versus the guy who bought a Dzire, then a 4th gen City)?

Item #7
Do you know what else is cool? 7 years later, your car will also be better maintained. How is? It is basic human nature. What do you take care of the most, your closet? The 600 rupee shirt or the 2000 rupee shirt? Fact = the best solution to stop wasting cheap 20 rupees cello pens is to buy a 1000 rupees cross. Remember that a higher segment car will generally be built to a finer+ standard with higher quality parts, which means it will age slower and last longer. If your car ages well, you will happily keep it for more years.

Item #8
A top quality car will also lead to better memories as it will make every drive, outing and vacation that much more special. As BHPians, the journey is as important to us as the destination. Cars are such a fantastic hobby anyway (unlike booze/tobacco/gambling etc.) so get out there and splurge some more.

Item #9
You don’t have the budget for this most beautiful car right now? Here’s my advice = keep your current car longer, so your budget goes up. Each additional year that you drive your current car, you save a lot of money and increase the funds available for your next car. Wait 2 years or 3 years if necessary, save money and increase your budget, but buy a NICE car! Linking again to this must-read thread Keep, Upgrade or Sell Your 5-Year-Old Car?.

Item #10
You will also be EMI-free for longer. Buy a premium car today and enjoy the extra 5 years of EMI-free life (e.g. 6-10 years when you would have otherwise bought a new car). You will break out of the vicious circle of EMI, as you would have paid off your loan within the 3-6 year period and you would keep your “better than expected car” longer. Compare that to upgrading cars every 3-5 years and paying car EMIs continuously.

Item #11
A compelling reason to buy a better car today is the changing landscape = downsized engines, a reduced variety of powerful diesel engines, increasing reliance on electronics, strict emission standards, electric cars, etc come our way! Go out and get a mechanically pure sexy car while you still can.

Item #12
It goes without saying that if you buy a higher quality car, you will also get a higher resale. Of course, that certainly won’t be enough to cover the entire $$$ difference between a WagonR and this compact SUV, but it will certainly partially offset the premium.

Item #13
Buy a nice car, keep it for 10 years, and you can spend the money/EMIs saved on lifestyle improvements, like upgrading your home, electronics, going out more, vacations, etc. (this is money you would otherwise have spent to change your car after 5 years). My vehicle is now 6 years old and I intend to keep it for another 4 years which means I have no auto down payment or EMI to worry about.

PS You want to have your cake and eat it too? That is to say a superior model but at the same price? Buy a nice pre-loved car instead – be sure to read our Side Upgrades thread! I’m addicted to buying “like new” 1-2 year old cars for 30-40% off their original price (examples 1 and 2).

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