Vehicles as status symbols

Environmentally friendly vehicles will be the prevailing trend in the car world in Greece over the next few years, according to Costas Dimitrelis of the magazine 4 Trochoi. «Over the last few years, the manufacturers have been exploring alternative forms of car fuel, such as hydrogen, solar power and electricity. We already have some hybrid models. This will become a fashion.» Currently, buying a car in Greece continues to be a question of status. «’Buy a car and stand out,’ is the main slogan. The tendency in Greece has always been to buy a car for display, instead of as something useful. Somebody with 15,000 euros won’t buy a car worth that much, but will borrow another 9,000 euros to buy a car worth 24,000.» Sales of sports cars and jeeps keep growing (by 14 percent and 36 percent respectively in 2002). «Of course, people who buy jeeps don’t buy them to go to the mountains,» Dimitrelis said. «Typically, four-wheel drives are preferred by women because they’re higher and they feel safer.» But small and medium-sized cars grab a market share of 60 percent, not due to a lack of parking spaces but because that is what people can afford.