Ecce Māchĭna: How to become the car you are.

Back in the Fifty, Buick Motor Company used to advertise their cars with the famous claim “It makes you feel like the man you are”. Just like the car was that tangible object that allows you to become what you really are (but you are not). True, but those were the Fifty, the golden years of advertising, the years of the American marketing which was in turn an outcome of the American dream and the American way of life. The one with the little-house with the garage and the car inside. One car for family, then two. Then fridge and television and so on. A “Revolutionary Road” life, that (as happened to the main character April Wheeler) will be doomed to collapse in itself. Nowadays, the idea that a car might really be the objet-petit-a for the self fulfillment may seem weird, awkward, absurd. Nevertheless this commercialization of self-being keeps on growing. A recent article published on Time magazine (introduced by the explicative sub-title: “In the People’s Republic, a car is more than a way to get around. It’s a statement that you have arrived”) describes very well how in China the car is actually the expression of who you are. As the lawyer Zhao Xiadi put it, Audi gets him to know people at his own level. Or Zhao Yanan, a man who spent his own life in poverty just to save his money to buy a Ford. Or, again, Tony Fu who sees his car as a way to expand his activities and have a better social life and June Zhang who says her Mini Cooper shows her personality, smart, fashionable and energetic. True, China, as well as South East Asia is the new promised land of marketing, as long as the newer destination (Africa) will be ready. In 2013, the number of cars sold in China was double (647 vs 310) than in the United States where the three best selling cars are Asian (Honda Civic, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry), while in China the three best selling cars are American and German (Volkswagen Lavida, Buick Excelle and Chevrolet Sail). The American dream has invaded China and the car has become a symbol of the Chinese Dream. As reported by Time, owning a car in China means to be able to tell everyone to have a car. The main reason why people buy a car in China is to prove that they can afford it. In this direction, marketing is not the new Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo, it does not make you what you are, but, at most, it gives you the illusion of being who you want to be.