Safety, comfort and tech extras add a premium — but can get you a better price at resale time
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.