Most new cars are sold with a few extras, and most of the time these are functional items like floor mats and roof racks. Did you know that sometimes you can save some money on these items depending on how they are added to the price of the car?
When it comes to accessories like mats, racks, cargo boxes, tow kits, or even cosmetic stuff like moldings and window tint, for the sake of negotiating price these items break down into two categories—factory or port-installed and dealer-installed. This is important. When they’re applied to the car matters in terms of how much leverage you have in terms of getting the price down or paying for them at all.
I’ve heard from folks that went into a dealer demanding saying only want to pay a certain price for a car without any extras, only to be told that some of those accessories come with the car and cannot be removed. That is because these extras are either factory installed or port-installed—meaning, put on the car once it arrives in the country. I’ve seen people walk away from a really good deal because there was $125 in floor mats on the car and the dealer would not take them out.
What car buyers should understand is that if an accessory like floor mats or a trunk tray is part of the window sticker, they cannot be removed from the car and pulled out of the price. Sometimes these items get bundled into something called a “protection kit” or something like that. What the dealer can do is sell you these items at a discount just like they would the car.
But a dealer is not going to deduct a few hundred bucks off the price simply because you don’t want the floor mats or the roof rack, just like they won’t give you an extra discount on a car with navigation because that isn’t an option you requested.
Sometimes dealers will put their own accessories on a car, and then you may have a bit more wiggle room on how you can work the price. Often I see dealers that will offer a super competitive discount off the MSRP only to add in an overpriced dealer installed accessory package later. Dealers in the South are notorious for adding window tint, door edge guards and nitrogen in the tires and charging upwards of $2,500 for these additional items. There’s also the classic VIN etching kit that some of the shadier stores to jack up prices by a few hundred bucks.
You can just flat out refuse to pay extra for these kinds of items. While it may be possible that something like window tint cannot be removed from the car, you can probably negotiate the price down or find another competing dealer in the area that doesn’t put pad the price with those add-ons. That’s why it is crucial that you get itemized out the door prices and compare them line by line.
Now there may be items you want to be added to the car like roof racks or a remote start system. Dealers will be happy to add these to the price at a cost, but I recommend that you shop around for some aftermarket solutions first before paying dealer retail prices. I had a client looking to add some roof racks to his new CR-V, but the trim he wanted to buy didn’t have the rail system installed and he didn’t want to upgrade to the more expensive car.
I got a quote from the Honda dealer of almost $750 including installation for roof rails and crossbars. I suggested my client look into a kit from someone like Yakima or Thule that generally run about $500 and are often more flexible with the types of gear and equipment you can carry on top.
When it comes to accessories and add-ons, don’t get so hung up on a few bucks especially if the items are part of the window sticker. Instead, focus on the total cost of the car and how that out the door price compares to other quotes on the same car.
And if you think you may want to add some things on your own, a little online shopping may keep some money in your pocket.