How would you react to a surprise gift of a new car?

I’m seeing a bunch of commercials where the husband surprises his wife, I guess for Christmas, with a new car (with a big bow around it). The wife is thrilled, and the husband presumably gets lucky for the next few nights.

All I can think is that if anyone bought me a car without asking me EXACTLY what I wanted (which should keep it from being a surprise), I would be very annoyed — I mean, I wouldn’t turn it down, but I’d sure wish they had let me pick it out.

And if the money came from a bank account that was half mine, I would be furious.

Am I crazy, or is this a normal reaction (and yes, I know they are not mutually exclusive)?

I would be a little irked if I was married and my husband just took it upon himself to buy me a car out of the blue without even knowing what I wanted. If he bought me one that we’d talked about and he knew I wanted, then I would be okay with it. However, I’m not married and so am unsure how I would react to someone buying me a car out of the blue. We should test it out- buy me a car and I’ll let you know how I feel about it. :stuck_out_tongue:

I always think they must be aiming at a much higher income bracket than I am. My husband and I are middle class, but a new car purchase is something that we plan for a long time in advance. We’ve been talking about getting a new car in the next year or two, but being surprised out of nowhere would stun me (not in a good way) and make me confused about whether we could actually afford it now, etc.

Gee, Honey, you spent $70,000 without discussing it with me?

But the minutes are free. :smiley:

Well, my first knee-jerk reaction on reading the thread title was that I’d be thrilled, but the only people in my life who would be even remotely likely to give me such a gift are my parents, and they a) would not be spending money that came from my own bank account; and b) would almost certainly select a modestly-priced used vehicle if they were to do such a thing.

I’d be much more iffy about it if it came from a spouse, especially if it was literally a new new car, because I could think of a hell of a lot better things to do with our joint savings than blowing them on a machine that will instantly lose a huge chunk of its original value.

I’d love it if a: we could afford it and b: husband knew exactly what I wanted. Otherwise no, I’d be annoyed.

Actually husband #2 did buy me a car for my birthday once…but it wasn’t new or particularly expensive; it was a play car that he knew I really wanted. So actually I was thrilled.

I’d be filing for divorce. I’m the only breadwinner, so a stunt like that means she’s been messing with my credit again.

Something close to this…only I’m not the breadwinner. I am the financial planner, though. In reality, it would just never, ever happen.

The problem is that, unlike most of the stuff you can buy in a retail store, you can’t just return a car if the recipient doesn’t like the model or the color. Auto sales are final. You could of course trade it in, but it’s considered a used car and you’re not going to get all of your money back. Two previous threads on the subject

They need to add that to the commercials!

I have to wonder what these commercials are getting at. Surely, this only happens rarely, but does it get people to go out and buy cars-- not as gifts, but just as a new purchase.

I guess I could see a parent doing this for a child (meaning a dependent child), but a spouse? Almost never.

First, I would hire a private detective, because I know we should have no money to buy a new car.

Second, I’d make him take it back and buy me a barn. I have no use for a car, but a barn I could do something with.

Assuming it wasn’t coming out of any account I contributed to, I’d not be angry, but how happy I would be depends upon the vehicle. If it was any kind of SUV, crossover, or truck, I’d be unhappy. If it was a sporty, low-to-the-ground coupe, I’d be unhappy. If it was a nice, comfy sedan that got reasonable mileage and had cruise control, I’d be pretty happy. No leather, tho - I hate leather seats.

Assuming it wasn’t from my own money or our joint account or something that I might have used for something else- like if my partner had been saving for a while or something in secret or had come into some money somehow without telling me… I think I would be pretty touched and happy.

But then, my partner now knows what I like and I would trust her to get me something good or to call in help to find me something good. Really, she’d probably get me a new version of the car I have. I love the car I have, but it’s old and a piece of crap and runs mostly on prayer, so I actually do want a new car. I’d prefer a newer used car, but if she could afford a brand new one, I’d still be really thrilled that she’d do something like that for me.

I read an article about those commercials once where they interviewed someone from a dealership who said that they actually do have occasional buyers who get a car as a present. I’m sure those people are wealthier than my family is.
I don’t know anyone who has the financial means to be able to give me a car, but if I did, I’d consider it an awesome gift of course. Even if it wasn’t my preferred car I would still be very grateful to get a free car. However, if my boyfriend somehow had access to my money and blew my money on a car that I hadn’t picked out, that would be a different story.

I’d be very pleased, since it would mean that we’re actually much, much richer than I’ve been lead to believe.


A lot of dealers are more than happy to let you take a car home with you for a day or two while you decide if its the right one for you. It really isn’t that big of a deal.

I would say that a certain percentage of the population is not very picky. If I got my wife a basic Japanese-made sedan (i.e. a Toyota Camry; Honda Accord; or Subaru Legacy) and it had all of the basic features which most people get with the car (i.e. air conditioning, automatic transmission, etc.), and it wasn’t some bizarre color, then she would be thrilled.

It’s very common in families that one spouse is a spendthrift and the other is a cheapskate. If the cheapskate controls the family finances, then chances are the spendthrift will be pretty happy if the cheapskate spends a lot of money on her. She will figure that the cheapskate wouldn’t have done it if they couldn’t afford it.

Seems pretty normal to me. His preferences in cars are decidedly not the same as mine so the odds seem strongly against him picking out something I’d really really love.

I’d be totally thrilled. I want to get a new car but my husband thinks the old one will do for a lot longer. So if he bought me a new car I’d know he finally came around to agreeing with me. As for what kind I want, as long as it seats 7 ( a minivan or SUV) I’m okay with it.