snopes.com  


Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Automobiles

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 15 February 2011, 09:48 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,647
Driver Rich Saudis abandon expensive new cars

Comment: I remember hearing a story about rich Saudi men who had more money than
sense. (The ex-pat community had a lot of stories like this going around.
In fact Aramco, the employer for this group of ex-pats actually set up a
department with hot-line for people to confirm (or mostly deny rumors).
When there is no free press/radio/tv, and you have such a huge
cultural/language divide, its easy for crazy rumors to get started.

Anyway here is the story about the Saudi(s) with more money than sense:

Supposedly they would buy an expensive Mercedes Benz, and drive it
continuously without performing any of the required maintenance, such as
changing the oil etc. Eventually the car would break down, and these
fellows were supposed to either be so rich that they could not be troubled
to have the car fixed; or they were so 'stupid' that they did not know
that they needed to change the oil regularly, and that a car could be
repaired if it broke down. They would abandon it at the side of the road,
and go buy a new vehicle.

It was not until I was reading another snopes rumor where a group of
people were maligned in a car related story that I realized that this
story was probably false.

As many of these urban myths go, this one starts to fray as soon as you
start to think about it. For one, if you are along the side of a road in
the middle of the desert, mid-summer, mid-day its probably 115º F.
Abandoning a vehicle any distance from shelter could kill you. I don't
think anybody would consider that method of automobile upgrade to be more
convenient or desirable than a more deliberate approach.

Now there were plenty of incidents involving Saudis doing silly things
because they had not been raised with technology. (I remember my family
had a young college-age man over who had been raised in a house with a
dirt floor.)
On the other hand, the roads were full of white datsun pick-up trucks and
large water tank trucks. Those guys seemed to know how to maintain their
vehicles.

One reason this might have started is that you did see cars along the side
of the road out in the middle of nowhere (like you will see them wherever
roads exists.) I'm not sure how land ownership worked in that country, but
I suspect there were huge tracts of land which were owner-less (or owned
by the royal family). There was not as much a sense that things should be
kept 'tidy', so abandoned cars probably did tend to just stay, if the
original owner did not junk it. Since the penalty for theft reportedly
could involve you getting your hand cut off, it was probably not worth it
for junk dealers to just take long-abandoned vehicles away. Since
everything made of metal was probably imported anyway, with there being no
local manufacturing, there probably was not much of a junk metal business
even. (all conjecture.)
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 16 February 2011, 12:30 PM
Sue Bee Sue Bee is offline
 
Join Date: 06 September 2002
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 3,858
Ponder

30ish years ago, my dad worked in the Emirates (which obviously is not Saudi Arabia), and the couple of times that I visited him, I was astonished at the number of very expensive luxury cars (that appeared to be in good shape) that would be abandoned on the sides of the roads. My dad explained that they had either broken down or had been in accidents, and at the time, there were few options for repairing these cars in the area, other than putting them on a ship and sending them to Europe, which would have ended up being more expensive than just getting a new one. That was his story, anyway.

So, I don't know if the story is true, but I can tell you that the last time I was in the Emirates, over 3 decades ago, there sure were very many abandoned cars.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 16 February 2011, 12:56 PM
DemonWolf's Avatar
DemonWolf DemonWolf is offline
 
Join Date: 24 April 2002
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 13,114
Ponder

That sounds like a business opportunity. I wonder why no one stripped the abandoned cars for parts and sold the parts to repair other cars. Surely not all of the cars had the same defects...
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 16 February 2011, 02:11 PM
crescent crescent is offline
 
 
Join Date: 13 August 2008
Location: Right here
Posts: 2,518
Default

I've heard the same rumour applied both to American Indians and to residents of Alaska. Appartently, Indians get so many government handouts, that they can afford to just buy cars, drive them until they break down (or, in one version I have heard, just run out of the first tank of gas), then they just abandon them.

Alaska residents get fat off of oil royalties and do the same thing.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 16 February 2011, 02:15 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 26,093
Default

The rumour I hear about the Native Americans and cars is that they buy cars on payment plans and then never make payments. Due to tribal sovereignty laws, the only people that can legally reposses them would be the FBI, who don't have the resources to do so.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 16 February 2011, 02:20 PM
Not_Done_Living's Avatar
Not_Done_Living Not_Done_Living is offline
 
Join Date: 02 September 2006
Location: Markham, ON
Posts: 3,735
Default

a few years back i was at my dealer getting a drive clean check, when a young lady came into the shop with her car on the back of a tow truck. She was yelling at the dealers complaining on how disgusted she was with the quality of their cars, and how it had broken down in only 4 days and how they had obviously taken advantage of her and were now wasting her time making her sit in their shop instead of getting to her "very important job".

When the tow driver had unhooked the car he came in, and told the mechanic the problem.. she had run out of gas... but she absolutely refused to believe him.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 16 February 2011, 06:04 PM
Roadsterboy's Avatar
Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 4,156
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue Bee View Post
30ish years ago, my dad worked in the Emirates (which obviously is not Saudi Arabia), and the couple of times that I visited him, I was astonished at the number of very expensive luxury cars (that appeared to be in good shape) that would be abandoned on the sides of the roads.
I believe it, depending on the kind of car. Through out the seventies and eighties Mercedes cars were very popular in both Africa and in the Middle East, because they were built very tough and were very reliable. A lot of people wouldn't know the difference between a twenty year old E-class diesel and a new S-class-they just see the badge.

-RB
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 16 February 2011, 06:10 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,647
Icon05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Not_Done_Living View Post
When the tow driver had unhooked the car he came in, and told the mechanic the problem.. she had run out of gas... but she absolutely refused to believe him.
If the tow driver knew the car had run out of gas, why did he tow it to an auto dealership rather than a gas station?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 16 February 2011, 06:51 PM
NorthernLite's Avatar
NorthernLite NorthernLite is offline
 
Join Date: 21 March 2006
Location: High Level, AB
Posts: 3,459
Moose

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
If the tow driver knew the car had run out of gas, why did he tow it to an auto dealership rather than a gas station?
Possibly because the customer called Roadside Assistance which only pays for delivery to the nearest dealer. There is no assurance for the driver that he will get paid if he delivers the vehicle to a gas station. Roadside does pay for gas to be delivered to stranded drivers but it would not pay for the original trip out and back to discover the reason for the break down.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 16 February 2011, 06:57 PM
DemonWolf's Avatar
DemonWolf DemonWolf is offline
 
Join Date: 24 April 2002
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 13,114
Driver

Or perhaps the customer insisted and he did not really care to argue. He can either argue with the rude, pissed off lady or deliver her car to the dealer and let the dealer argue. He gets paid the same either way...


Maybe more to tow her to the dealer.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 16 February 2011, 07:00 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,647
Ponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernLite View Post
Possibly because the customer called Roadside Assistance which only pays for delivery to the nearest dealer.
Every manufacturer-based roadside assistance program I've seen includes provisions for handling point-of-problem scenarios such as motorists' locking themselves out of their cars, running out of gas, and needing help changing flat tires, etc., without any requirement that the car subsequently be taken to a dealership. That's why it's called "roadside assistance" -- the program contracts with providers who are are expected, and paid, to provide assistance at the roadside.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 16 February 2011, 07:04 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,647
Ponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
Or perhaps the customer insisted and he did not really care to argue. He can either argue with the rude, pissed off lady or deliver her car to the dealer and let the dealer argue. He gets paid the same either way...
Most tow drivers carry jerry cans with a gallon or two of gasoline in them for scenarios like this one. If the driver were getting paid the same either way, why would he opt for undertaking the course that involves much more time and work rather than simply dumping a gallon of gas in the tank?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 16 February 2011, 08:33 PM
NorthernLite's Avatar
NorthernLite NorthernLite is offline
 
Join Date: 21 March 2006
Location: High Level, AB
Posts: 3,459
Moose

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Every manufacturer-based roadside assistance program I've seen includes provisions for handling point-of-problem scenarios such as motorists' locking themselves out of their cars, running out of gas, and needing help changing flat tires, etc., without any requirement that the car subsequently be taken to a dealership. That's why it's called "roadside assistance" -- the program contracts with providers who are are expected, and paid, to provide assistance at the roadside.
I know why it's called Roadside Assistance. I sell GM vehicles and am aware of the services and limitations of the program. That's why I stated that Roadside will bring you gas if you are stranded. You asked why it was towed to a garage rather than a gas station and I answered that.

I just talked to our local tow truck driver and he confirmed this. He did add that if the vehicle is out of gas, he could call in to Roadside and get pemission to drop it off at a gas station but in our case the dealer is across the road from the gas station. Furthermore, it would be the driver's responsibility if there was a problem above and beyond being out of gas. For instance, at the dealership, one of the techs would make sure that the vehicle was running smoothly before the cusomer left and hadn't sucked up crud from the bottom of the tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Most tow drivers carry jerry cans with a gallon or two of gasoline in them for scenarios like this one. If the driver were getting paid the same either way, why would he opt for undertaking the course that involves much more time and work rather than simply dumping a gallon of gas in the tank?
The driver stated that he does not carry gas with him. There is too much chance of it going flat or getting condensation in the jerry can which could cause troubles with the customer's vehicle. He would only have fuel with him if he was asked to bring it. He said he would tow the vehicle in.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 16 February 2011, 08:40 PM
rhiandmoi's Avatar
rhiandmoi rhiandmoi is offline
 
Join Date: 27 July 2003
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 12,753
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue Bee View Post
30ish years ago, my dad worked in the Emirates (which obviously is not Saudi Arabia), and the couple of times that I visited him, I was astonished at the number of very expensive luxury cars (that appeared to be in good shape) that would be abandoned on the sides of the roads. My dad explained that they had either broken down or had been in accidents, and at the time, there were few options for repairing these cars in the area, other than putting them on a ship and sending them to Europe, which would have ended up being more expensive than just getting a new one. That was his story, anyway.

So, I don't know if the story is true, but I can tell you that the last time I was in the Emirates, over 3 decades ago, there sure were very many abandoned cars.
I have heard the same thing about Jordan and Saudi, from people who have been there in the last 5 years. I think the big cities repairs might be possible, but out side of the metro areas it is cheaper just to buy a new car.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 16 February 2011, 08:59 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 26,093
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernLite View Post
There is too much chance of it [gasoline] going flat
Um... what? Is this a odd way of describing varnish buildup?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 16 February 2011, 09:06 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is online now
 
Join Date: 22 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,532
Jolly Roger

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
I have heard the same thing about Jordan and Saudi, from people who have been there in the last 5 years. I think the big cities repairs might be possible, but out side of the metro areas it is cheaper just to buy a new car.
How is that? I'm sure you could hire a flatbed to ship it to a city for repairs and have it driven back for less than $20,000.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 16 February 2011, 09:12 PM
NorthernLite's Avatar
NorthernLite NorthernLite is offline
 
Join Date: 21 March 2006
Location: High Level, AB
Posts: 3,459
Moose

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Um... what? Is this a odd way of describing varnish buildup?
Could be. I'm just quoting the driver. Near as I can tell he is describing what happens when the gasoline begins to eveporate. He did mention that it could happen if the cap on the jerry can is loose or if the exhaust cap is missing. He told me he once found a partial jerry can of flat gas while cleaning out the box of his truck.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 17 February 2011, 12:44 AM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is online now
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,193
Default

I've been to Jordan in the last five years and didn't notice lots of abandoned luxury cars by the side of the road, but perhaps I just wasn't looking...

It would seem a bit odd that they wouldn't have managed to set up any means of repairing cars, though - it's hardly the third world, and there are enough rich people there that there are surely Mercedes dealerships which would be able to get parts. The website for Mercedes Jordan alone lists a headquarters, a showroom and three official parts dealers (here), and Jordan's not a very big country - I'd guess that's a better density than a lot of US states.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 17 February 2011, 07:03 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I've been to Jordan in the last five years and didn't notice lots of abandoned luxury cars by the side of the road, but perhaps I just wasn't looking...
Well, Jordan is not a rich country like Saudi is.

Not that I believe this story about Saudi either, to me it just seems like racist drivel.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 17 February 2011, 10:27 AM
Cyrano's Avatar
Cyrano Cyrano is offline
 
Join Date: 01 September 2005
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 2,906
Default

If it wasn't for Sue Bee's post, I'd think it's a new version of the old joke about the millionaire who buys a new car because his ashtray's full.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Saudis own FOX News snopes Politics 2 11 August 2014 08:59 PM
Family abandon their 'haunted' dream home Tarquin Farquart Spook Central 10 28 September 2008 09:15 PM
Expensive Gift snopes Glurge Gallery 12 15 March 2007 03:00 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.