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Glass's BusinessCar used car spotlight: August 2016

Date: 18 August 2016

Are retrofit extras damaging values?

What difference do factory fitted options make to the value of a used vehicle compared to retrofit extras?  

At auction, it is not uncommon to see vehicles with big bore exhaust systems, tinted windows or bigger alloy wheels that have been fitted by the previous owner. To some people, particularly younger drivers, these retro-fitted extras enhance the overall appeal of the car. 

However, when it's time to sell or part exchange, such enhancements put many buyers off, even when they have been fitted really well, due to the image that they portray. Often these cars are completely overlooked by buyers in auction halls, most likely because the instant image that these vehicles project is that they have been owned by boy-racers and generally driven hard.

The impact on values can be significant, a recent example being a 2011 registered Seat Leon 2.0 TSI 5dr at 55,000 miles that was worth £6610 which sold for just £5700 in the trade. This was apparently because of its aftermarket tinted windows and non-standard alloy wheels.

Original factory fitted optional extras on the other hand, such as larger alloy wheels and tinted rear windows actually have a positive effect in general on resale value because not only do they visually improve the look of the car but they are trusted by buyers and won't look out of place on the forecourt. 

Andy Cutler, forecast values editor, Glass's Guide

How the market tells us that the SUV is now mainstream

Not too many years ago, a 4x4 car was primarily a utilitarian working vehicle, used by farmers and those who needed the go-anywhere capability they offered. Specification was equally basic - the original Range Rover still had seats and floors that could be hosed down. As a result, they were very definitely niche vehicles.

However, it was ultimately the Range Rover that introduced Europe to the concept of a 4x4 car trimmed and equipped more like a conventional saloon car. Initially, it had little in the way of competition, but gradually others such as the Toyota Land Cruiser appeared, but all were large cars.

The real change in market momentum began as drivetrain and chassis technologies improved, enabling smaller cars such as the Vauxhall Frontera to be developed, but it was the Toyota Rav4 and the Land Rover Freelander that proved there was a demand for cars the size of medium hatchbacks but with some degree of off-road ability.

Seeing the success of the Rav4, other manufacturers sought to join this sector and now all brands offer SUVs of varying sizes - and even prestige manufacturers such as Bentley and Rolls Royce are joining in.

The proof that the SUV is now mainstream rather than niche can be seen in its used market performance. Traditionally, 4x4 values would rise as we headed towards the winter as buyers sought transport to combat the bad conditions, and would then drop as the weather improved.

In the last couple of years, however, we have seen a change in this pattern, and now the values of used SUVs follow similar trends to those of more conventional vehicle types. For many buyers, they have replaced cars such as MPVs or estates, offering similar levels of practicality but more appealing styling.

Rob Redman, forecast values editor, Glass's

Valuing modern classics is difficult

The recent sale of a Peugeot 205GTi for £30,000 has captured a lot of attention in the modern classics market, showing that relatively recent cars can make big money. However, it is very difficult to work out which models are the ones to watch and will continue to gain value in the future.

Generally, the more successful cars have to be sporting in nature and also tend to have been made at a time when potential buyers were young. For cars like the 205GTi, this will mean they were in the teens and 20s at the time and are now well into middle age.

The 205GTi is, we agree, a surefire classic, as are contemporary Golf GTis and Escort XR3s. What is difficult to estimate is whether these vehicles are now peaking or will rise further in value? As a 40, 50, 60-year-old car, will the 205GTi have continued to gain value every year?

For this reason, it is currently difficult to value such vehicles. While some logic goes into the pricing of them, the emotional aspect of the purchase is tricky. What value can you place on nostalgia, desire and memories? To see how the values of these vehicles develop over the next few years will be fascinating.

Jonathan Brown, car editor, Glass's