Ex­er­cise your op­tions

Get the top safety and com­fort add-ons — and the best re­sale price

Herald Sun - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

THERE is a rash of spe­cial edi­tions in the new car mar­ket. Ev­ery week there’s an­other one en­tic­ing car buy­ers to stretch the bud­get fur­ther in search of more fruit for your loot.

Some­times “spe­cial” only means de­cals and a dif­fer­ent set of wheels, but in­creas­ingly car mak­ers are bundling ex­tra tech­nol­ogy, higher qual­ity fin­ishes and even more per­for­mance into their cars to make them more at­trac­tive.

Gen­er­ally, these bun­dles work out as cheaper than buy­ing ac­ces­sories in­di­vid­u­ally and when it comes to sell­ing, the ex­perts say, they should hold their value bet­ter.

Put sim­ply, if you spend $40,000 on a car and an­other $800 on op­tions — the av­er­age spend, ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers — you’ll only re­trieve $400 if you sell af­ter three years.

Buy a spe­cial edi­tion and you’re likely to get a health­ier slice of your money back.

Car re­sale price mon­i­tor­ing ex­pert Ross Booth of Red­book says the laws of sup­ply and de­mand al­ways ap­ply.

“As a gen­eral rule a spe­cial edi­tion will de­pre­ci­ate at about the same level as the car it’s based on, so if it is worth two or three per cent more when you buy it, that’s what you’ll re­coup when you sell it,” he says.

“The mar­ket­ing types have a pretty good idea of what needs to be built into a spe­cial edi­tion, so they’re build­ing-in de­mand for the ve­hi­cle.”

Booth cites a Hyundai ix35 spe­cial edi­tion he bought with leather trim, big­ger wheels and a re­vers­ing cam­era for $1000 over the base price.

“That was worth­while be­cause the leather was a $1000 add-on as an ac­ces­sory. As a gen­eral rule, ac­ces­sories added in­di­vid­u­ally to a ve­hi­cle will de­pre­ci­ate around twice as quick (as the car).”

Booth says hav­ing vis­i­ble ad­di­tions on a spe­cial edi­tion is the key. “If it’s got more per­for­mance or a leather in­te­rior or what­ever the in­de­mand fea­ture is, then the next buyer can see that. (Items such as) paint and up­hol­stery pro­tec­tion can’t be seen, so aren’t worth as much.”

His views are echoed by ri­val Nick Adamidis of Glass’s Guide.

“There’s a big dif­fer­ence be­tween lim­ited edi­tions and spe­cial edi­tions,” Adamidis says.

“If you’re buy­ing a spe­cial edi­tion you want items the next buyer can see and ap­pre­ci­ate. If you’re adding ac­ces­sories then in terms of re­sale value, you’re of­ten bet­ter off buy­ing the next vari­ant up in the range — you’ll get a bet­ter re­turn on your money.”

Adamidis says sim­ply adding side skirts and de­cals is no longer enough to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the car come re­sale time.

“If you look at some­thing like the Nis­san X-Trail N-Sport (with metal­lic high­lights on the al­loy wheels, grille, bumpers and side skirts), it’s not go­ing to add much ex­tra value,” he says, while ac­knowl­edg­ing that peo­ple per­son­alise their cars for emo­tional rea­sons rather than fi­nan­cial ones.

Subaru brought just 400 two-door WRX STIs into Aus­tralia in 1999 and they sold be­fore they’d rolled off the boat.

Com­pany spokesman David Row­ley says it is de­bat­able whether per­for­mance en­hanced mod­els have more value on the used mar­ket.

“It’s equally true that stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion ‘spe­cials’ that add ac­ces­sories or bits of kit from a higher-spec vari­ants have strong ap­peal,” he says.

“Cus­tomers ap­pre­ci­ate the value of get­ting more fea­tures ef­fec­tively for a lesser cost than if they added the items in­di­vid­u­ally.

“The other fac­tor to con­sider is the at­ten­tion that these ve­hi­cles bring to the brand — in terms of pub­lic­ity alone they’re a great in­vest­ment from our per­spec­tive too.”

Hyundai’s Ac­tive X spe­cial edi­tions fol­lowed that theme and were so pop­u­lar they’ve mor­phed into a reg­u­lar vari­ant in the Tuc­son and Santa Fe line-ups.

Volk­swa­gen mar­ket­ing and prod­uct plan­ning man­ager Ben Wilks says spe­cial edi­tions are “firm fix­tures in the brand’s prod­uct play­book”.

“Volk­swa­gen cus­tomers have al­ready made a choice in opt­ing for our brand over a more mun­dane al­ter­na­tive and, nat­u­rally, many of them have an ap­petite for a fur­ther de­gree of fac­tory cus­tomi­sa­tion,” Wilks says.

Toy­ota spokesman Stephen Cough­lan says ac­ces­soris­ing a ve­hi­cle is an easy way for cus­tomers to tai­lor a ve­hi­cle to suit their needs.

In terms of pas­sen­ger cars, an av­er­age owner will spend $800 — on any­thing from floor mats to a bike rack.

“When look­ing specif­i­cally at Toy­ota com­mer­cial mod­els and 4x4s such as the HiLux, LandCruiser 200-se­ries, For­tuner, Prado and LandCruiser 70-se­ries, the ar­ray of ac­ces­sories is broader and al­lows the buy­ers to cus­tomise their ve­hi­cles to meet their work or life­style needs,” Cough­lan says.

“In the case of these mod­els, the av­er­age spend on Toy­ota Gen­uine Ac­ces­sories to­tals ap­prox­i­mately $1700.”

Here are some of the cur­rent spe­cial edi­tions.

Ford Ranger FX4, from $58,915

The Ranger doesn’t need much pro­mo­tion to sell but the FX4 spe­cial edi­tion has been a hit with Ford fans. A $3500 pre­mium over the XLT brings much of the top-spec Wild­trak’s vis­ual styling, in­clud­ing black grille, roof rails and sports bars, car­pet mats, leather-ac­cented seats and big­ger al­loy rims. Spokesman Martin Guns­berg says some Ranger cus­tomers want to stand out from the crowd and the FX4 ful­fils that re­quire­ment.

Mit­subishi Tri­ton GLS Sports Edi­tion, from $45,990

Black means busi­ness in the pick-up world and the Tri­ton Sports Edi­tion duly picks up black ex­te­rior high­lights and black pow­der-coated nudge bar. It’s more than an im­age makeover, how­ever, with prac­ti­cal ad­di­tions in­clud­ing car­pet mats, tub liner, soft ton­neau cover, tow­bar and rear diff lock. The price is a $4500 pre­mium on the reg­u­lar GLS.

Toy­ota LandCruiser Alti­tude, from $93,460

This lim­ited run of 600 ve­hi­cles is based on the GXL ’Cruiser and is in­tended to bridge the gap to the top-spec ver­sions. As such it is fit­ted with LED fog lamps, leather-ac­cented up­hol­stery, power front seats, cool box, rain­sens­ing wipers and up­graded driver’s dis­play. The Alti­tude is $4630 more than the GXL turbo diesel. Black is the de­fault Alti­tude colour — pre­mium white, sil­ver, graphite and blue shades add $550.

Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat All­track Wolfs­burg, from $54,990 drive-away

The stan­dard car is $49,990 and the ex­tra $5000 brings dig­i­tal “vir­tual cock­pit” in­stru­ment dis­play, ad­justable sus­pen­sion and auto tail­gate that opens with a swish of your foot un­der the bumper. Cos­metic touches in­clude big­ger al­loy wheels, LED lights and, in the cabin, am­bi­ent light­ing and higher qual­ity fin­ishes, in­clud­ing more up-mar­ket leather.

Skoda tech and com­fort packs

There are no lim­ited edi­tions as such but the Oc­tavia has a Sports Pack bun­dle that in­cludes bi-xenon head­lights, 18-inch al­loys, spoiler, fog lights and other good­ies for $3400 (val­ued by Skoda at $5670). Its Tech Pack in­cludes a big­ger cen­tre screen, adap­tive driv­ing modes, pre­mium au­dio auto park­ing and other gear for $3200 ($5660 in claimed value).

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