As much fun as it is speccing a new car, some options are more appealing, and therefore more valuable, to used buyers
There’s something exciting about specifying a new car, running through the different trim options and in particular the temptation to dabble in the optional extras.
But companies picking up the bill should be ensuring that their drivers are making good choices, or the penalties at defleet time can be severe, if the car specced new doesn’t have the same appeal for the second owner as it did the first.
“The specification should match the model. A good spec on the right car will support its value and speed its sale, while the wrong spec will have the opposite effect,” says Stuart Pearson, COO UK Remarketing at auction giant BCA. “Clearly, buyers have different demands when they are buying a city car, small hatchback or family car than a performance saloon or executive estate.”
But the fleet sector has evolved in the way it chooses vehicles. “The traditional mistake for fleet managers was to opt for the cheapest deal available, says Glass’s car editor Robert Redman.
“This usually resulted in low-specification cars in solid colours. The wholesale market can usually cope with one or two of these vehicles, but trying to unload a fleet of identical vehicles results in distress selling at low values.”
BCA’s Pearson says media systems and in-car connectivity are increasingly important, and professional buyers are likely to pay a premium for connected cars. “With most consumers having an abundance of technology in their homes, the expectation on greater connectivity in vehicles will only grow,” he says. ”BCA recommends speccing up connectivity where possible to help ensure that the best RVs are produced at the end of the first ownership cycle of the vehicle.”
On the flip-side, Glass’s’ Redman says driver assist and safety systems, along with specialist paint finishes, add little or no value.
Model-wise, Glass’s says SUVs continue to be popular, although their values are starting to come under pressure due to increased supply, while battery electric vehicles continue to be volume-sensitive, although the company says this will subside as buyers become more open to the concept of plug-in cars.
POTENT PREMIUM CHOICES
Appealing levels of specification on premium models to speed a sale include the following in particular:
- Metallic or premium paint
- Leather interior
- Upgraded wheels
- In-car connectivity
A SIMPLIFIED FUTURE
Due in a large part to EU rules around the emissions impact of additional options, manufacturers are moving to simplify their offerings across specification and options, which will change the process of choosing a car.
“With many manufacturers switching from offering multiple options to just a few packs and very few single options, the process of deciding on a car’s specification is becoming simpler,” says Glass’s car editor Robert Redman.
“Most manufacturers are attempting to create packs that have a residual value to offset the considerable retail prices. However, as standard specification levels continue to increase, for most customers it should be possible to settle on a trim level that is both suitable for the user and desirable when it reaches time for defleet.”
“The general rise in UK specification levels means that the days of truly basic cars are behind us,” he concludes.
There are many hits and misses when picking colours. Stuart Pearson, COO UK Remarketing at BCA talks through his top colour tips:
1. Doesn’t matter if it’s black or white
Black or white finishes in metallic/premium paints create a lot of interest with buyers, particularly when matched with the right exterior packs and wheels. Black wheels are proving popular and can enhance the desirability of almost any vehicle.
2. (Bright) blue is the colour
There’s a lot of brighter blue schemes hitting the market across many sectors and these are popular as the vehicles really stand out. Retail dealers look for variety for their forecourts to ensure that they’ve got something for everyone.
3. Subtle metallic shades work for larger cars
We see larger volumes of metallic blues, greys and silvers in the remarketing arena. These subtle colours work well on bigger saloons, estates and coupes, with an understated elegance that appeals to used buyers and makes an attractive package when combined with a good specification. Sellers might consider a top-quality valet using a machine-operated polish to bring the finish back to ‘almost as new’ quality. Flat, dull non-metallic paint schemes should be avoided where possible.
4. Retro return for two-tone
Two-tone finishes have made a resurgence recently, harking back to classic models from earlier years.