COMMENT: Carmakers must appeal to both logic and emotions

Franz W. Rother is Editor and Chief of Automobilwoche

The new Rolls-Royce Phantom makes people go down on their knees in admiration. When looking at a Ferrari Enzo they hold their breath.

It is fascinating to sit behind the wheel of a VW Phaeton, feeling the acceleration force of its ten-cylinder diesel engine or to witness the changeability of a Citroen Pluriel.

There is no doubt: our fascination with automobiles is as strong as ever. However, is this fascination strong enough to turn our admiration into a decision to purchase?

This is the big question all German manufacturers and importers ask themselves in the wake of the 60th international auto show, the IAA in Frankfurt. Will the IAA bring with it the long hoped for impetus or will German consumers continue to save up their money?

Fascination alone is not sufficient.

Not only the limbic system, which is the part of our brain controlling our emotions, needs to be stimulated. The cerebellum, another part of the brain that controls our reason and therefore our wallet, also needs to be convinced.

The cerebellum has been worrying about high car prices for quite some time now. It has been surprised to see some high-tech products' susceptibility to faults. And the large decrease in resale value even for luxury cars also worries it.

The cerebellum tells us not to buy a diesel vehicle unless it is fitted with a particle filter. And that it is not really necessary to buy an exciting "ego mobile" just to demonstrate to the neighbors how cool we are.

Is a new car a toy or a means of transport? And does one even need a new car?

The fight between the two brain parts promises to be particularly tough during the next few days.

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