Car ownership is more than just the total installment that you would be paying throughout the tenure of the loan. The majority cost of ownership of any given car can be broken down to:
1. Maintenance & wear-and-tear
2. Insurance and tax
Value depreciation also comes into play, since for most brands in the market value would depreciate faster than the outstanding amount owed to the bank.
My 2 cents to the younger generations would be for them to purchase reliable used cars that are not longer than 3 years old as their first car. There are a few advatanges in taking this option, namely:
1. The steep deprecation experienced by new cars since the day they left the lot have already been realized on used cars.
2. For most brands, the warranty would still be valid, and may be transferable to the new owner. Any major defects or damages can be rectified at no or minimal costs
3. Riding on the first point, throughout the loan tenure, the total loan owed to the bank would most likely be lower than the value of the car, thus allowing the owner to swap the car without having to pay the difference between the selling price of the car and the amount owed to the bank
In general, a car is an asset, a depreciating one no less. It has value especially in our tropical rain forest climate where it would be unnerving to walk longer than a few minutes in the middle day in the open. However it is not necessary that your car to be the most expensive nor the latest in the market. A good, reliable car can be had without breaking the bank if you know where to look