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You bet it does — especially when it comes in the form of a titillating BDSM narrative.
Need proof? Look no further than the E. L. James trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey. A bunch of bored housewives fantasizing about whips and chains have turned what some have called a poorly written book into a bestseller, and some have suggested that the books might also be boosting Audi sales in the U.S.
Consider this: the trilogy hit the New York Times’ bestseller list in March. Audi had its best sales month in April. By the time July rolled around, Audi set an all-time record, selling 28% more cars than the same time last year.
I haven’t read the books myself, so I get my information about them second-hand (meaning that you’re getting it third-hand). However, I know for certain that several Audis appear in the trilogy. The bearer of the whips and chains, protagonist Christian Grey, drives an R8 Spyder. He presents Anastasia Steele, the person on the other end of those whips and chains, with a red A3 for her birthday. And somewhere in the middle of all that, a Q7 rears its boxy head.
While I can see how the popularity of a book might lead to increased sales of steel-gray ties — and perhaps rope and bondage gear, too — I’m not so sure the effect would carry over to cars. Sure, fascination with the trilogy might make readers look at Audis a bit differently, but can the sale of a $10 novel really translate into the purchase of a $40,000-plus car?
In addition to the price differences, we also have to consider the demographic that’s smitten with these naughty narratives. Suburban housewives make up the largest group of James’ fans, which has led to the 50 Shades genre being dubbed “mommy porn”. Call me naive, but the terms “suburban housewife”, Audi, and BDSM don’t quite mesh together in my mind.
Yes, I know there are a lot of professional women out there who can afford to buy a luxury car, but I honestly don’t see a working mom putting her two-year-old in the back of an Audi she bought after zipping through an erotic novel.
Maybe someone can convince me that I’m being narrow-minded, but I’m just not buying it. Are you? And if “mommy porn” fanatics aren’t snapping up all those Audis, who is?