The evolution of technology and its seep into the used market means buyer expectations are constantly shifting
New car technology is developing at an unprecedented pace, across comfort, safety and connectivity.
It’s as exciting to the used buyer as the new one, but the second buyer isn’t necessarily willing to pay for the privilege of more toys.
“Technology and specification are increasingly high on new car buyer agendas as they look to personalise the vehicle,” Vehicle Remarketing Association chair Philip Nothard tells Company Car Today, warning businesses to tread carefully and not get carried away. “The return on the original cost of the option is not always as high as you might think.”
Robert Redman of vehicle value expert Glass’s agrees. “Generally, higher specification will make a car more desirable, which will, in theory, make a car easier to sell,” he says.
Redman says the rise of the smartphone has propelled connectivity apps to the forefront. “Smartphones offer the ‘key’ functionalities of audio and satellite-navigation, often more up-to-date than those available with the car, plus easy linking to e-mail and other connected services,” he continues. “Going forward, it is going to be expected on all brands.”
Nothard says that safety kit, historically unloved in terms of desirability or willingness to pay extra, is in some cases garnering more interest. “Buyers are increasingly keen to have features such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and lane-departure warning/lane-keep assist, even if they don’t normally lead to price increases.”
WHAT BUYER WANT
The Vehicle Remarketing Association chair Philip Nothard has picked out a few key bits of tech that used buyers are looking for at the moment, although he emphasises that their presence is likely to increase saleability rather than value
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
- Auto-dimming mirror
- Automated parking
- Parking cameras
- Blindspot warning
- HID/LED headlights
- Auto-dip headlights
- Ventilated seats
The issue of data being stored by a car is only heading in one direction, and the experts warn that fleets need to make sure they are controlling their information and its accessibility, post-defleet.
“Data privacy has been a subject of discussion for some time,” says Glass’s Robert Redman. “The latest crop of in-car systems collect a huge amount of personal data, often downloading the telephone, e-mail and other details for the entire directory of a person’s phone.
But the VRA Philip Nothard describes implementation of removal policies as “often patchy, at best”.
“As infotainment systems become more complex and we see an increasing amount of connected car technology in use, this is potentially going to become more of an issue and will require increasingly structured solutions,” he concluded.
BCA COO UK Remarketing Stuart Pearson on how the company has navigated the past few months
1. Connectivity = desirability
Media systems and in-car connectivity are increasingly seen as desirable, which means professional buyers place a premium on connected cars. It is important for sellers to recognise this and ensure vehicles are correctly described at remarketing time
2. Home comforts need to extend to cars
The expectation for more connectivity in vehicles continues to grow, with this increasing for premium and executive models. BCA recommends up-speccing connectivity where possible to help ensure that the best RVs are produced at the end of the first ownership cycle.
3. Exceptions are rising fast
Smartphone connectivity, touchscreen media systems and controls, driving and parking aids are expected on younger used cars, as well as multi-functional dashboard computers, rain-sensitive wipers and light-sensitive headlights.
4. Its smart to enable smartphone links
ApplePlay and Android Auto are increasingly desirable options because they mirror mobile devices onto the in-car infotainment system. With mapping technology available in most people’s mobile phones, there’s an expectation that most cars should
also have it.
5. Tech moves fast
It is worth remembering that mobile technology can swiftly become ubiquitous, and that means any real benefit in terms of price performance dissipates. For example, USB points and Bluetooth are now common on most modern vehicles and make little difference to desirability.