When is a $50 part worth more than a billion-dollar styling refresh? Probably never, if we're honest. But considering the 10 coolest taillights ever, PhilaDLJ recalled an apt quote from Bob Lutz emphasizing the high perceived value of seemingly small items.
While we're on the subject of automotive lighting:
Bob Lutz once said: "Nothing adds perceived value to a car faster than that chrome surround around the side glass ...If you skimp on $50 of chrome, you are reducing the customer's perceived value of the car by $500 of $600."
I'd wager there's a new king of perceived value-adding, and it's the wing mirror-mounted turn signal, or wing signal. Whenever I see a car with these, I think "Gee, that's neat...that looks like a quality car." Even if it isn't. It's unconscious; automatic.
I think this is because the first cars to feature wing signals were pretty upscale. Tech typically trickles down from the echelons of luxury to the mainstream (the Cadillac ELR is a notable exception to this rule ).
Now Hyundais have wing signals, and they look that much better for it. Of course, I'm sure they cost more than chrome trim, but i think they add more perceived value as well. (Edit comment)