Say goodbye to the pink Mazda

Reporters on the Job: Sometimes good story ideas can come from the people closest to you. A few weeks ago, my fiancée’s mother, who lives in western Germany, was telling us that she had finally bought a new car, thanks to a sizable cash incentive the German government has begun offering people to scrap their old cars and buy new ones (read the story here).

When I initially read about the incentive program, I thought that the roughly $3,000 the government was giving people didn’t seem all that much (it’s not like the government is slashing car prices in half or anything).

But I was wrong. The cash is just enough to get people into car showrooms. I really began to understand that as I listened to my future mother-in-law. She’s an elementary school teacher, not wealthy, and she had been driving the same pink Mazda hatchback for 15 years.

Interestingly enough, one of the major criticisms of this new car incentive program is that while it is ostensibly offered to help German automakers, it doesn’t guarantee that people here will buy German.

What did my fiancée’s mother buy? Another Mazda.

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