From Maruti 800 in India to Mercedes C300 in Canada, I reached my dream

I was thinking of upgrading from an apartment to a house & then buying a Ciaz. But fate had other plans.

BHPian jaspritsingh recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

As a kid, I grew up looking at German cars (my hometown had its fair share). Everywhere you looked – on the TV, in the movies, on the street – a German was a statement that the owner was “someone”. Like any other kid, I too aspired to be that “someone”.

My father was an Insurance surveyor and I used to accompany him whenever I was free. One fine day we were in a FNG workshop to inspect a car under repairs and the owner was working on a RHD to LHD conversion. The inquisitive child in me asked the owner why was a Mercedes so sought after compared to other cars even when it cost a lot more. After all wasn’t it smart to conserve money (in my defense I was 7/8)?

The owner smiled and pulled out two radiator fans. One was OEM the other was sourced locally. He asked me to spin the local one. It completed a few revolutions and stopped. Then he asked me to repeat the same exercise with the OEM fan. It kept spinning for a while. I was amazed at the difference between the two otherwise quite similar fans. The owner smiled and said – “This is German Engineering”. I walked out of his workshop promising myself my first car would be a Mercedes (again in my defense I was 7/8).

Fast forward 20 years and I was driving… drumroll please… a Maruti 800. Upon getting married, the ride was upgraded to a Dzire. I had become the stereotypical IT worker. My aspirations too had changed. By then I had come to terms with the realities of life such as educational loans, home loans, child expenses and the German dream had been all but forgotten. My roadmap at the time was to upgrade from an apartment to a house within a year and then buy a Ciaz. But fate had other plans.

A flaming row with a superior prompted me to explore my options and I ended up with a PR visa to Canada. Fast forward two years and I was happily settled having checked all the boxes (good job, own home, decent car).

My first car in Canada was again a conservative choice. Not knowing anyone in the auto scene, I opted for the safest bet – A new Honda Accord LX.

This car served me well. In 6 years of ownership where I drove it in every weather condition and every type of surface and never had a single issue. Due to the pandemic, the usage was a bit lower than what it could have been (it ran a grand total of 3000 KM in 2020). By the end of 2022, the odor on my Accord showed 51000 KM. The car had completed 6 years and the new car itch had begun.

My wife made her aversion to sedans quite clear and dropped hints about wanting a Highlander. The 7-seater from Honda – Odyssey (which I personally favor as a great ride for road trips) was rejected instantly with my wife dubbing it the “Loser Cruiser”.

Meanwhile, Canada experienced a major interest rate hike in 2023 as the Bank of Canada went all out to rein in the rampant inflation. I quickly realized that a 70K car was out of the question. Real life responsibilities like children’s education funds, and retirement planning again take priority. With a heavy heart, the German dream again faded out.

As luck would have it, a friend asked for my help in finding a used BMW. He wanted a 3 series but was worried about expensive repairs. The child in me jumped at the chance of shopping for a Big German and I quickly found a 2018 330i Xdrive with just 25000 KM. It was BMW certified and had a bit of the original warranty left. My friend was not impressed. He wanted the 2019 or later models (3 series had a facelift in 2019). I told him if he wasn’t going for it I would but he did not budge. So I called the dealership and scheduled a test drive for the coming Saturday.

On Friday, we had the biggest storm of the season and I woke up with 30 CM of snow on my driveway. But the pull of the German was so strong I cleared my entire driveway in a little under 3 hours. At exactly 11:00 AM I was at the dealership reception. The car was in really good condition. I was worried about its age not matching the KM reading but the Carfax report suggested everything was in order. BMW was giving 100,000 KM/4 yr warranty on certified cars for engine and transmission and I could buy the extended warranty which would basically cover everything else.

We went for a test drive and I was a bit underwhelmed. The cabin felt a little cramped compared to the Accord. The single display did not have Apple Carplay. It felt like a slight downgrade as my 2017 Accord had 2 displays, supported Apple Carplay and just felt roomier, especially in the back. I could update the system in theory and get carplay support but the SA was quick to tell me what to do so it would void the unit warranty.

I wanted to see the numbers before I made the final decision and I thought I had a decent deal. I did a quick check and realized I could get this car for a bargain bin price, keep it for 4 years and then change it before any real issues show up.

The bill of sale was signed and stamped and I opted for extended warranty, prepaid services for 4 years and an additional package which could cover interior repair/cleaning, paint less dent removal, windshield repair/replacement, lost key replacement and tire/rim replacement in case of a burst/flat (because of runflats).

I asked the SA to send me a few pics as the car was out on a test drive while I was hammering the numbers and he promised to do so in a minute the car got back.

Apologies for the messy car. The conditions were really messy after the storm.

Upon reaching home I proudly broke the news to my wife and kids who did not understand why I was all smiles about getting a 5-year-old car. Not letting them dampen my spirits I checked my email as I needed to send over a few documents. To my surprise and horror, the dealership had added a new charge AFTER the bill of sale was signed. Apparently the SA had missed some details and thus the extra charge. We had a mildly unpleasant discussion and since the SA was new (it was his first sale), I decided not to create a stink.

My wife told me to just pay the charge if I felt the deal was as good as she felt I would keep whining otherwise. I on the other hand refused to be played and asked for my deposit back. The SA promptly refunded my money and the deal was off. Once again the German dream went in smoke.

Life went on and I reluctantly specified and priced a Highlander. The dealership told me due to the global supply chain disruptions, I was looking at a minimum waiting period of 6 months with absolutely NO discounts. The waiting period killed any interest my wife had and she told me to just buy what I liked.

I kept on casually browsing the German inventory available for ready purchase in the local dealerships but was reluctant to commit a large amount. Looking at German cars ready for sale reduced my lunch time activity.

One fine day, I stumbled upon a 2020 Selenite Gray C300. It was mildly interesting. It was coming with the Premium and Sports Package. (MB really needs to stop this con of pricing the base car really low but hiding all the fun stuff in addons). What made it really eye-catching was the odo reading which stood at an eye-popping 5900 KM!

The price was just about what a new A220 would cost me with the packages I wanted. I quickly called the dealership and was told the car had just been acquired from an auction and would not be ready for viewing for another week. I asked to see the car the following weekend. On the appointed day, I walked in and saw the car in person. It was in really good condition. The first thing I checked was the cabin space in the back and once that concern was satisfied I took a test drive. The car drove really well and I didn’t notice any issues.

I came back and worked the numbers. This deal was almost twice what the BMW was going to cost me but I had my heart set and for the second time in 3 months, I signed the bill of sale.

The sales experience at Mercedes was a few notes up from my BMW experience. The Accord’s trade price was acceptable, the SA threw in a $1000 discount on the C300 and also agreed to throw in new all-season runflats as the car was on winter tires (which I also got to keep). New winter tires would be at least $2000 so this sweetened the deal quite a bit.

MB was offering 4 yr/100000 KM warranty on all Certified cars on Engine and Transmission. In addition, I opted for 4 years prepaid service and the all-in package included Key replacement, paint less dent removal, windshield repair/replacement and tire/rim cover (again because of run-flats).

The SA asked for a few days to deliver the car as he needed to order the new tires and we agreed to take delivery on the coming Thursday.

On the appointed day, I walked in to see the car was all set and ready. The dream I saw as a young boy had finally come true.

A few papers were signed and initialed. We were given a quick demo and surprise, one of the keys was scuffed. I pointed it out to the SA who sheepishly told me they needed to deliver the car to me for the package to get activated. Now with the car delivered, they could put in a claim and get me a new key. I was ok with it and he promised to have my new key delivered on Saturday when I was supposed to come in to pick up the winter tires. With that, we brought our three-pointed star home.

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