In this column we use guilders and 10-year-old price lists to show that new cars are indeed as expensive as you thought.
“What is that in guilders?” Sometimes when we have a perfectly normal car in the office, such as a Volkswagen Polo of 27,000 euros, colleague Gert starts to do the mental calculation in frustration. In my head I participate: guilders, what was that again? Thing floof ass? No, that’s the mnemonic for the twelve original Euro countries. TV bag? The Wadden Islands! 3.14? Pi. You convert from guilders to euros with a factor of 2.20371. “That’s a Polo worth almost 60,000 guilders?!” concludes Gert angrily. He finishes with a rant about how things used to be better and then we get back to work.
Everything used to be cheaper
You can argue about whether everything was better in the past. For example, I have heard horror stories about the school dentist … Everything used to be cheaper anyway. My grandmother recently showed her recovered household book from 1951, with the amounts she paid to the greengrocer, fishmonger, milkman, baker, chemist and grocer. All neatly written in pencil on lined paper. Sixty cents for fish, groceries worth 2.06 guilders at the grocer. The milkman had a good customer in her, because she spent 3.71 guilders. Ha, what a sweet sum.
Car prices from 10 years ago
Browsing our 2013 new car price list feels similar. Ten years ago you had a Golf with four cylinders and 140 hp for the price of the aforementioned Polo. At the time, a Peugeot 208, now the best-selling car in the Netherlands, had a price tag of approximately 16 grand. That is now the absolute lower limit for a new car: the Mitsubishi Spacestar of 16,490 euros is the cheapest new car in our country. Then it was 8790 euros.
“The Polo of today is just as expensive as the Golf of the past.”
All moving up a car segment
When I compare the amounts from then and now, my simple conclusion is that car prices have moved up a segment in ten years. With the budget with which you bought a B-segmenter back then, you can now buy a small city car. And the Polo of today is just as expensive as the Golf of the past. It also happens with larger models: a new BMW 3 series costs 51,186 euros, while you previously drove a 520i in 2013 … “51,186 euros, what is that in guilders?”