Proverbs 22:7 was a key verse in my mind for my kids to understand and avoid: "The borower is servant to the lender."
For six years my two oldest kids drove this old vehicle around town: to school, sporting events, jobs. They stood out in this old vehicle!
Teens do not have to go into a world of debt to have "wheels," and parents don't need to shoulder a heavy debt burden so they can have them, either. (I'm working on an article, "Enslaved to a Car" which I'll post soon, hopefully).
If parents buy their kids a beautiful new car when they turn 15 or 16, what expectations are they setting for future vehicles and purchases? When they get out on their own and have to buy their own car, will they be able to adjust down to one they can afford? Or, will they be enslaved to the idea that they must have something newer and nicer, even if they can't afford it and have to go deeper in debt, becoming a slave to the lender?
Driving an old vehicle THEY have paid for will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment, even if it isn't as snazy as some of the other vehicles in the school parking lot. They will learn discipline, self-control and money management. They will also learn that they can stand on their own, even if it means learning to be satisfied with less (which the Bible says we all need to learn, anyway).
With the strain in the national economy and family budgets, driving an old green pick up might be a good option for many of us, not just the kids!