I have a little theory about car marketing. Ever notice how car companies use their names? For example, compare a '99 Corolla and an '06 Corolla. Compare their power, available features, and roominess. I haven't done a scientific analysis, but my suspicion is that a '99 Corolla is actually comparable to an '06 Yaris. I suspect this is such that people who used to own a '99 Corolla will feel bad about buying an '06 Corolla. They think they're "going backwards" in terms of model. They're guilted into buying a more powerful, more fully-featured vehicle. They used to be able to afford a Corolla, and now they're "only" able to afford a Yaris. Think this is true? I certainly do.
Here are some other model names that I've seen similar patterns with: Malibu, Bonneville, 3-series
This happens with pretty much every major brands and their big selling models. If you compared a new 2008 model Accord, Altima, Camry, etc. (and that's just the japanese brands
), to a pre-2000 version of that same model, it will be a huge difference in the size and standard features on the vehicle. A new Corolla is like an old Camry. A new Sentra is as large as an old Altima.
And yes, the idea is that the automakers want their customers to "grow up" with their brand. If they bought a Corolla when they were young, they'll probably want a larger, more comfortable car when they're older, so they'll buy the new one, which happens to cost more.
The trick is to actually think about what you're buying and determine if you're willing to settle for not Super-Sizing your next car purchase. For myself, I don't even like the size increases in the "mid-size" vehicles. I'm not a big person, so I feel a little lost in them sometimes.
(of course, in the past 6 years I've gone from a '90 Buick Park Avenue, which died; to a '99 Accord, which sadly crashed; and to my current '03 Protege5, nice and small and peppy)
I'd gladly save $5000+interest for an automobile that doesn't really
give me more pleasure or options. The difference between a Civic or Accord is negligible, when it's just my wife and I in the first place.