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High-End Gifts for the Car-Loving Kid Who Has Everything

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author photo by Autotrader December 2010

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG‘s Audi are upping the ante for holiday gifts by bringing on high-end gifts for kids. Pickings for 2010 include expensive go-karts and snow racers. Besides providing another cash cow for the companies, the expectation is that these luxury gifts could breed the next generation of loyal buyers.

Merchandise has been a steadily growing part of Mercedes’ business with sales rising on average more than 10 percent annually over the past decade; BMW’s merchandise sales have increased 20 percent over the last year and Audi’s sales have climbed 20 percent this year.

Take a look at the offerings and you’ll see why. Mercedes-Benz’ 10-year-old line has 15,000 products including the tread-tired Go-Kart Mile Miglia pedal - powered go-cart that’s priced at $299 for ages 7 and up. Younger roadsters, ages 2 to 5, can drive the Classic 300 SL Silver Gullwing Electric Car. Priced at $425, the one-seater has a plastic body, hand brake and rechargeable battery. Lower priced gifts include the Mercedes-Benz star pin for $4.50; silver holiday ornaments for $24; or a teddy bear with a M-B logo fleece scarf for $39.

BMW currently sells more than 2,000 products through its 15-year-old lifestyle-merchandising program. Products include a kid’s equivalent of the M3 GT2 racecar. The $455 car is run by batteries, has two gears - forward and reverse -and tops out at 2.5 miles an hour. BMW- and Mini-branded $103 Snow Racer sleds have replaceable metal runners, a suspension-system and a horn. And a must for everyone–the $51 Mini rain boots. Sales have been so good for the company that they currently have 40 BMW stores in China with plans to expand to Korea, Russia and India.

Audi takes on the high-end kid’s market with a limited edition pedal-powered version of the Auto Union Type C. The scale model of the 1930s racer, designed for kids up to 4.4 feet tall, has an aluminum frame, hydraulic brakes, seven-speed hub gear, leather-clad steering wheel and oak dashboard. The car retails for $13,300. Better get one quick– there are only 100 of the 500 units left. If that’s too high a tag, Audi’s Teddy Bears–one dressed in a racing suit–go for $61.

And then there’s Rob the gecko, the cartoon lizard that was created as a buddy for kids on car trips. Rob is “made of such soft plush that you can hug and stroke him for ages,” Audi noted in a brochure for the line, which includes a cozy blanket, neck support and kid’s steering wheel.

But, in the end, Aston Martin takes the cake for creating ultra tony tyke toys. The British brand sold mini motorized replicas of the V8 Vantage Volante and Virage in the late 1980s and early ‘90s to customers including Prince Charles. The $24,000 Aston Martin Volante Junior had a gasoline engine and radio and topped out at over 30 miles per hour.

The cars have resold for as much as 25,000 pounds, according to Roger Bennington, Managing Director of Stratton Motor, one of the world’s largest Aston Martin dealers.

“A lot of people bought them as a collector’s item when they had a new car built and would normally have the Junior built to the same specification,” said Bennington. “I don’t actually think many kids got to use them as they were normally the prized possession of the Aston Martin owner. They were also a little bit too fast for children.”

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
High-End Gifts for the Car-Loving Kid Who Has Everything - Autotrader