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Old 06-03-2012, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
5,044 posts, read 8,030,645 times
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In our small rural town, the most expensive cars are driven by well-to-do retired people (Cadillacs, New Buicks) the "country club crowd" (Lexus, Mercedes, BMW's), and those on Welfare (Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Hummers and Cadillac Escapades). I'm not joking here. We the working class are pretty much driving Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chevy and lately seeing I'm seeing a lot of Hyundai models. Poor elderly people and young people with low car budgets are usually driving Kias.

I do notice a trend that the very well known, truly wealthy, older established lawyers, doctors, and insurance agents in our town are driving old Volvos and other good reliable "beaters". I guess this sends the message that they are so successful, they don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone anymore. (Although I'm sure they have a luxury convertible BMW stashed in the garage at home for "Sunday" drives).

So, you would fit right in, if you choose a small Southern rural town, with any type of vehicle that you choose.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
2,283 posts, read 3,143,473 times
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Been away (30+ years) but I'm from one of those small midwest farming communities (and now returning to the area) so I know how the locals "talk" and what they tend to talk about. Depending upon the size of your town and how well everyone knows everyone else's business, if you buy super expensive, especially if combined with flashy, there will be talk and possibly some ribbing which you might not have the sense of humor to endure on a regular basis. There might also be the supposition that you are making too much coin, and when many if not most farmers and local small business folk work hard just to stay afloat, that might not be the impression that you want to leave with customers that support your business with their hard earned dollars. You've asked this question because you sensed that this might be a problem and this concern did not materialize out of thin air.

As you surely know, midwest farming communities tend to be filled with modest people, with modest expectations. IMO, especially as a small business owner, choose wisely what sets you apart from your community. Use what you know about your particular community and you particular background and history there to make the important symbolic choices. If your great grandfather and all of your subsequent family has lived in this town you might have more latitude to set yourself apart from the cultural norms than someone that relocated there at some point in the past. If your town is larger, 10K+ you will have more latitude than in a smaller place.

Two things have been mentioned that I think are very wise: 1) Support a local or area dealership with your car purchase and 2) be sure that your car can be serviced locally (best) or in a nearby town. Anything else will be seen as elitist and (worse) will be terribly impractical in the long run. We have had Land Rovers for years but we now have a comparable Ford SUV because of the servicing issues (closest service nearly is 100 miles away) and because we want to try to fit into our chosen community and not continue to be those quirky (if not downright odd) Alaskans down the road because some of our oddities (organic practices) are non-negotiable.

I think you might know your answer deep inside. If you trust your good sense that led you to be successful in small business, you will have your answer. Good luck to you.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
2,707 posts, read 5,433,956 times
Reputation: 2415
Quote:
Originally Posted by montanamom View Post
In our small rural town, the most expensive cars are driven by well-to-do retired people (Cadillacs, New Buicks) the "country club crowd" (Lexus, Mercedes, BMW's), and those on Welfare (Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Hummers and Cadillac Escapades). I'm not joking here. We the working class are pretty much driving Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chevy and lately seeing I'm seeing a lot of Hyundai models. Poor elderly people and young people with low car budgets are usually driving Kias.

I do notice a trend that the very well known, truly wealthy, older established lawyers, doctors, and insurance agents in our town are driving old Volvos and other good reliable "beaters". I guess this sends the message that they are so successful, they don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone anymore. (Although I'm sure they have a luxury convertible BMW stashed in the garage at home for "Sunday" drives).

So, you would fit right in, if you choose a small Southern rural town, with any type of vehicle that you choose.
This is pretty much how it works where I live, too. Retirees drive "domestic" luxury cars, working age people with money they want to spend drive the snazzy imports, and middle class on down drive more practical vehicles.

Interestingly I've noticed the same trend amongst "established" doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc., too.
My dad, a recently retired attorney, drives a 7 year old Explorer. Which is a distinct step up from his rusty 70s era Scout that he drove for YEARS...
Friend of mine is taking over his dad's (and before that, grandpa's) bank. My friend drives a 10 year old Civic and his dad a well-used Ranger pickup. Another attorney in town does indeed drive a Mercedes, but it's a late 80s version. And so on.

I don't know if this is an example of not wanting to put on airs, or the fact that people with money tend to recognize good investments (and vehicles definitely ain't it! lol)
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:32 AM
 
833 posts, read 1,494,384 times
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A person moving to a small town to start a business will get talked about if he drives an expensive foreign car.

Those that say otherwise don't know what a small town really is. (IMHO )
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:39 PM
 
16,482 posts, read 21,416,917 times
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In our area the only reasons a nice car would be a problem is if you intended on going down any of the rural dirt roads in the area. You woul then do better to have a high clearance vehicle or in the winter or rainy season a 4x4. Also, if you had some really expensive car, like a Bentley or something it would stand out like a sore thumb.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,200 posts, read 17,051,861 times
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In sthe small (population ~3000) town in Illinois where I grew up several of the local businessmen drove Cadillacs and Lincolns. The businesses these men owned provided needed goods and services at a a fair price; furthermore, they all gave generously of their time and money for community service projects. I don't recall anyone ever complaining about the kind of cars they drove.

The only exception was a family-owned GM dealership. When the son of the original owner took over he started buying Porsches and BMWs at auction and let family members who worked there drive them. Folks perceived it as a deliberate exhibition of wealth; it didn't sit very well with the locals and it wasn't long until the business went under.

These days you'll see just about anybody driving anything. Most just assume that the driver is financing it with a big, fat payment book rather than a big, fat bank account.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
2,150 posts, read 3,656,286 times
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I used to live in a small town/rural area and there were quite a few people that had collector cars, I had a few older luxury cars. I think a lot of people saw it as a point of pride, kind of an accomplishment that they achieved in life
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:03 PM
 
76 posts, read 61,692 times
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I live in small town- less than 5000 folks here. If you were a business owner no one would think it suspect if you drove a nice car, now if you are young and with no visible means of support and drove a nice car they might suspect you were doing something shady. Small towns have a way of ferreting these things out, it wouldn't be long before everyone would know your bussiness and how you came by your fancy automobile. I'm just kidding you a bit- really no one would care. We haven't been held hostage here, we've seen the city, and a lot of us work there. driving evey day to and from- the rest of the world is not a mystery to us.
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