New car personalisation might cost you dear

Posted on February 9th, 2015 by Rob Marshall

optionsWith so many new cars being priced-to-market, it is unsurprising that many private buyers cannot afford to stump up the typical £15,000 – £20,000 required, even for a fairly average four-wheeled box. Not helped by the credit crunch, leasing a new car and paying for it in instalments has become ever-more attractive for the many consumers that have become used to settling their bills monthly.

However, many buyers tend to get over-excited, when specifying options for ‘their’ new car, without realising that they are not the legal owner. A wiser tack is to specify a car in a way that would make it more desirable (and valuable) come trade-in time. Therefore, personalisation options, which might combine lime green paintwork, with a chocolate brown interior, may well individualise the car for its first owner but most second-hand buyers are likely to be harder to persuade into such a combination.

Choosing optional extras is more difficult, because there is no hard-and-fast rule. Apart from choosing options that will make the ownership experience more pleasant, specifying a functional family car with lots of extras might be a waste of money, yet, the same exercise with a luxury car might make more sense.

However, while certain options tend to make a three years-old car more desirable on the used car market, such as metallic paint, built-in satellite navigation and parking sensors, consider that manufacturer costs can be eye-watering and ticking too many of the options list boxes can inflate the price considerably and it is unlikely that you will not be reunited with the extra cash, come trade-in time, because options tend to depreciate faster than the car itself.

Therefore, should you lease the vehicle and plan to swap it for a new model, bear in mind that the decisions that you make now need to take into account how desirable the vehicle might be, come trade-in time in a few years.