Choosing the right model derivative beats loading with options for higher used car values

When selecting a car to buy you can protect your investment against devaluation by choosing a different version of the same vehicle, one which includes the options you want to include in the lower priced trim, says CAP, the experts in pricing of used vehicles.

The extra features you add into a car typically hold only 20% of their original value. Compare that to the 90% retention of value that another version of the same vehicle, with higher quality versions of your options, would have.

Take the instance of buying the extra features, three years ago, of rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic air-conditioning, electro-chromic rear view mirror, interior lights pack, multi-function steering wheel, and different style allow wheels for a BMW 318d ES. It would have run you £1,520. However, after 60,000 miles and three years, the value of the package is worth merely £300. That is only 20% of what you spent on it.

If you had chosen to upgrade the car to an SE, which include better versions of your features, you would have spent an additional £1,030. Today that package in that particular vehicle would be worth £925. That is a whopping 90% after 60,000 miles and three years.
According to CAP’s Mark Norman, a better understanding of the true value of options helps car buyers make more cost-effective vehicle purchase choices and they can also benefit by placing more emphasis on the options present on their stock at remarketing time.
Mark Norman offers car buyers 4 golden rules to ensure they make the most cost effective choices around the specification levels of their vehicles.
• If possible choose derivative uplifts rather than options
• Actively market the options on your car when selling it again
• Assume most options will have zero value in the open used market
• Understand there’s no such thing as an “essential option”
Mark Norman said: “Options are now too complicated to expect future buyers to understand the difference between standard and optional features.
“For example, on a BMW 318d ES there are 74 cost options, 4 no-cost options, 12 colours, 11 interior trim options and 5 option packs available.
“Expecting future buyers to be aware of what came as standard and what may have been an expensive extra is clearly unrealistic and you can be certain that if they don’t know the origin of a feature, they certainly won’t pay any more for it.
“That is why it is wise to specifically market the optional features on every vehicle when it is remarketed.”
According to Black Book, the benchmark guide to current used values, many options retain so little of their cost new that it is wise to assume zero value in the used market. Factory-fitted Satellite Navigation, for example, can retain as little as 11% of its original cost after 3 years.
Mark Norman added: “The trade is also fond of saying some options are ‘essential’ but this tends to be true only in cases where you want to sell back into the franchise dealer network.
“Values in the used market, as reported in Black Book, show that in many cases the residual value penalty for the absence of a feature is actually less than the cost of originally purchasing it new.”