Have you seen those commercials that show someone finding a car in their driveway on Christmas morning?
The ones where the vehicle is all tied up with a giant red bow?
They’re ubiquitous this time of year. It seems as if everyone is finding the key to an awesome auto waiting for them under the tree.
Have they inspired you to buy a vehicle as a holiday gift for that special someone on your list?
Here’s everything you need to know to make sure this major purchase will be viewed by the receiver as an awesome present and not a giant lump of coal.
Don’t give a car to just anyone.
So what are people able to do when they receive a sweater that doesn’t fit or that they don’t like? If they have a receipt, they can return the gift to an actual or online store for another item, a credit or cash.
You can’t do that with most cars, especially used ones. It’s very likely that if you try to return a vehicle, the dealer will offer you far less for it than you paid.
Surprising someone with a car could be a good thing if they’ve been eying a particular model for a while and have expressed interest in a new ride. It’s likely that in this circumstance, they will appreciate getting a car they’ve wanted as a gift.
However, if you don’t have a clear picture of the kind of ride someone wants, including the model, color and age, any car gifted to them could be an unwelcome surprise. A practical station wagon won’t make someone who imagines driving a sports car very happy, even if it’s free. The resulting awkwardness may have a negative impact on your relationship.
If you’re not sure that a car is something someone wants, it’s probably better off to stick with a sweater.
Don’t take them car shopping.
The answer to making sure someone will welcome the gift of a vehicle isn’t to take them shopping. Selecting and test driving autos are the fun parts of the car buying experience. Many aspects of the process aren’t as enjoyable. This includes things like completing paperwork, getting financing and securing insurance.
Instead, take the person on an informal browsing trip. Or ask their opinions about cars as you drive around. Once you know which vehicle someone is interested in, handle the less fun parts of the purchase process on your own. Relieving this burden brings an added layer of value to the gift.
Make sure the receiver can afford the expense of owning a car.
Buying a vehicle is only the beginning of all the costs related to owning one. There is also fuel, maintenance, insurance, repairs and other expenses. Ensure that the person you’re giving the car to can afford them. No one wants to receive a gift that may leave them strapped for cash or in dept.
Consider adding a maintenance plan.
Want to take your automotive gift to the next level? Why not add on a year or two of free maintenance? Even making arrangements for a single year’s service will remove a big financial burden from your present especially if you’re giving it to a college student or someone just starting their career.
Make it an awesome experience.
For most people, receiving a vehicle as a gift is a once in a lifetime occurrence. Do something to make it memorable. That big red bow in the auto ads is one option. Consider other things like having friends and family members present to share the experience. Or ask someone to record it. Maybe you could end the first drive with a dinner out, an afternoon of skating and hot chocolate or other memorable event.
If you’re going to the expense and effort of buying a car, even a used one, make a statement when you present it.
Don’t forget the holi-“day”.
If you deliver the vehicle prior to Christmas or other winter holiday, make sure you have a present to give — even a small one — on the day. A car is an awesome gift. However, it can feel awkward to not have something to open on the big day. Consider giving them a cool accessory that takes the vehicle to the next level.