QOTD: Does Anyone Actually Care About Automotive Lifestyle Merchandise?

I don’t know what this is, but I don’t think I want anything to do with it.
I don’t know what this is, but I don’t think I want anything to do with it.
Photo: Bugatti

I can’t say that I—or anyone I know—has ever felt inclined to purchase a “lifestyle” product officially licensed by an automaker. But the brands keep releasing this stuff, so someone must be buying. Is it any of you fine folks?

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It feels like, everywhere I turn this week, a different brand has released a different product. There’s Hyundai with its N Line clothing, Bugatti with a lifestyle collection, and Aston Martin with a $3,145 Samsung Galaxy Fold 2.

It’s all fairly decent-looking stuff, I won’t lie. But I just don’t get it. Why are you paying money to advertise a brand that gives you nothing in return (other than, I suppose, the pleasure of driving its cars)? Why insist on doing it with something so expensive? Who desperately needs a $250 of tequila just because it has the Tesla name on it?

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I will admit that I am not immune. I do own an egregiously priced Mercedes F1 Team sweater because it was, somehow, the cheapest warm and dry thing available in the merch tent after the deluge that took place at the 2015 United States Grand Prix. I own a truly disgusting amount of Marussia F1 Team merch, but that was mainly because 1) I loved that dumb team, and 2) I could scoop it up on eBay for painful discounts.

I also own a pair of Corvette sweatpants, a Corvette crop sweater, and a Trans Am crop top. I own these because I found them on sale at Target. I own them because I thought it would be funny to dress for success, by which I mean my quarter-life crisis, at which point I will purchase either a Trans Am or a Corvette on Craigslist and proceed to regret the decision until my mid-life crisis, at which I presume it will all make sense.

But no one is ironically dropping three grand on an Aston Martin cell phone. No one is spending almost $80 for a white t-shirt that says “Bugatti” just for the hell of it. Do any of you actually care, or is this all a scheme for the rich folks to flaunt being rich?

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

How many of you has a dealer plate frame or their sticker name on your trunk? Do they pay you to advertise their dealership because they sold you the car? each time I picked up my new cars, I always tell them to take their name off MY car unless they want to pay me.