Car Choices: Navigating the world of accessories & upsells
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But wait, there’s more! How about these steak knives, yours for just $9.99. Would you like that as a meal? Can I interest you in an offer of two-for-one?
The retail world has lots of ways to sell extra to a customer, and be it coercing or providing something that a buyer didn’t know they needed, or indeed did but didn’t know about, there are plenty of ways to upsell.
In the car world, the profits margins of many cars aren’t truly that that large, considering the bricks and mortar rent, staff, marketing and many overheads covered by the brand and/or dealer, so there becomes an extra emphasis on highlighting some of the “extras” that a buyer might like to personalise or protect. But not all of them are worth their cost.
We covered off how to choose a car specific to your needs, and that might mean choosing a higher or lower spec model than your first thought.
A Mazda CX-5 GSX, for example, might have all the equipment you’re after without the need to go to the Takami. A Hyundai Elite might save a few grand over the Limited, and a specific model in the range of Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota or Tesla might suit your specific needs. One particular German brand even earned a reputation over the decades of offering “options” that many would have considered mandatory in a vehicle at that price tier.
Of course once a vehicle brand, model and spec level is chosen, then the myriad of accessories and extras offered by both the manufacturer and dealer could, quite easily, quickly add to the purchase price, and in press cars especially that DRIVEN sees, the cars are often packed with options simply to showcase all the features – which is fair enough.
But once you’re about to swipe your card, transfer funds or (old school) hand over a cheque, a dealer will often throw up a few last-minute choices, like the chocolate bars at the checkout. So let’s cover off a few common offers, and if they’re worth considering.
Good ol’ paint protection, the invisible barrier that’s the difference between your new pride & joy’s paint and it decaying away like the Titanic a week after the warranty expires.
Paint protection used to be a popular thing to push decades ago, and if you’d like to keep your car’s paint looking as new for as long as possible, and you regularly park it under trees and birds, then consider it. But if it’s garaged and semi-regularly cleaned, there’s substantially less need.
If racking up lots of highway km, then the best invention of the past decade or so is the thick, clear stonechip protector, like a clear wrap for the car’s nose that prevents nasty chips.
If you’re buying a brand new Alfa Romeo in 1971 and you live in Raglan, definitely get this. If you’re buying a new Toyota in Ponsonby, forget about it. Rust protection is done at the factory as a matter of standard procedure by all volume car manufacturers and in 2020, rust should not be an issue with a new car with a warranty.
EXTENDED DEALER WARRANTIES
With manufacturers improving and increasing their warranties over recent years, this has become less of an issue, but like any appliance/electronics purchase, the devil is in the detail. Read through the offer, and see what voids the warranty. Often the factory warranty is enough. Of course it all depends on your application.
Huge in the 1970s, back then it was little more esteemed that it is now. While we’re not ruling it out entirely: treatment of leather and cloth interiors is something to consider if kids are part of the equation, though there are many aftermarket “cans” that can also cover off the basics of an extra layer of protection. If you must.
DEALER PREPARATION OR PROCUREMENT FEE
A “PD” - or pre-delivery - clean is standard these days and removes all the shipping protection stickers, papers and components used for safe shipping. And unless it’s a special request or specific order pulled from a far-away location, there should be less of a requirement for these types of fees. Look closely and ask if required, but also be informed before asking.
Toyota includes these as part of its current pricing and many other brands include them as part of “on road costs”, which is a good thing, because we’d certainly recommend floor mats as a disposable/replaceable layer of protection - especially bespoke fitted mats that won’t slide under pedals. They’re worth their cost, every single day.
Factory rated and installed is often cost-effective and easy, and there’s the added/inclusive warranty issue to consider when it’s fitted by the manufacturer. Often aftermarket companies that sell to the public also supply the manufacturers, so it’s a good idea, if electing something like this, to know the charges and any dealer-specific costs.
Ask what deal can be done, because many cars are fitted with rear “privacy” glass (another name for tinted windows) so just the fronts might need matching tint. There is sometimes a vast difference between a dealer quote and a third-party quote, so it’s a classic case of knowing what things cost. If you’re a regular morning/evening driver when the sun is low, window tint can be a God-send and if you can negotiate a good deal, it’s much easier to get windows tinted before you collect your car.
Accessorise and personalise with factory accessories, by all means, to make a new car “yours”, but just be mindful when under the spotlight and about to sign on the dotted line, and be informed about cost and what each does.
And also consider that some personalising might be good for you, but may not increase the insured value or the overall resale value.