Young Driver - Dejected but still having Swift dreams
Sheldon Williams, Gleaner Writer
This is the final in our four-part series in which Sheldon Williams took us through the anticipation, angst, delights and doldrums of a young man's experiences with learning to drive and acquiring that elusive 'first ride'. Next Sunday, we start the four-part series 'Bussing it', in which Mel Cooke takes the reader along for the ride via public transportation on routes around the Corporate Area.
It seems like everything is working against me in my effort to own a motor vehicle. Factors such as my age, my gender and the age of my driver's licence seem to be doing no good to increase my chances of owning a car of my choice at a reasonable rate. Advice received from at least three car insurance brokers and agents added to the predicament, as I was told that I would be 'loaded' by insurance companies because of the factors I outlined earlier.
With insurance quotes ranging between $120,000 to over $200,000 annually, I have become discouraged, as my search for a car has transitioned from a sprinter's pace to that of a runner in a marathon who will quit long before he sees the finish line. And if the insurance costs aren't enough, the monthly car-loan payments aren't chump change either, unless you are one of the fortunate ones who earn some 'healthy' money.
Checks with a number of the leading used-car dealers in the Corporate Area have revealed that car payments for any 2007 model car (that is the oldest model they are permitted to import) will range from $23,000 to over $30,000 monthly. With all those costs considered, a question that my friend had asked about my desire to own a car keeps lingering in my head. "Will that car make you money or will it take money away from you?" she enquired. It is a question I am yet to answer.
At the same time, a co-worker whom I consider one of the more learned journalists even made a statement to me that has sent my thinking into 'overdrive'. He remarked "car nice fi look pon, but not to own" - and I am beginning to agree with him more each day my search continues.
After thinking it through thoroughly, I had decided to abandon my agenda of purchasing a newly imported car from a car dealership, but instead purchase a locally driven car. However, my family members, who are of the view that such cars are 'ole wives' and destined to be problematic in the short run, will put a dent in my pocket and make me end up in bankruptcy, do not support that choice.
"No buy no car from nobody weh dem drive and beat beat out and drop inna pothole, especially when dem a drive go country," an experienced motorist told me after I shared my plans with him. "Buy car straight from Japan. That will run all three to five years without giving you no problem 'cause Japanese roads better," he advised me in all his wisdom.
At the same time, apparently another taboo in the automotive world is driving a car designed for female drivers. Therefore, I was told to quickly erase any thoughts of owning cars such as a Mazda Demio, Suzuki Alto or a Toyota Passo, among others, because those are 'girl cars'.
Evidently, there is no conclusion on which is the best car to purchase, especially when it's your first time shopping for one. Nonetheless, I have decided to focus on getting a black Suzuki Swift with full body kit (fog lamps, spoiler and sporty rims, among other things) provided I can access suitable financing.