Truck buyers: Spec those vehicles for maximum resale value

Nov. 1, 2003
IT'S IMPORTANT for truck buyers to seriously consider spec'ing for resale value on their next purchase decision to help reduce life cycle costs, according

IT'S IMPORTANT for truck buyers to seriously consider spec'ing for resale value on their next purchase decision to help reduce life cycle costs, according to Kenworth Truck Company, Kirkland, Washington.

“Trying to cut as much cost out of a new vehicle purchase may seem like a sensible decision, but may not always be the wisest one,” notes Steve Gilligan, general marketing manager for Kenworth Truck Company. “Certain components add far more value than others when trade-in time rolls around. The total cost of these components during the length of ownership can actually be less expensive.”

Truck make, drivetrain, transmission, engine brake, sleeper, air ride suspension, and interior trim are among key spec'ing selections at time of purchase that can add to resale value.

“Truck make is the number one decision a buyer can make to increase a truck's resale value,” he says.

Gilligan noted that buyers can check the Truck Blue Book (a Primedia publication), NADA (National Automotive Dealers Association), and other independent sources to help assess vehicle resale value.

Resale values are also typically driven by the popularity and appeal of specific components or component packages.

“For example, the engine is the number one component spec for higher resale,” Gilligan says. “The rule of thumb is the higher the horsepower, the higher the resale value. A big-bore engine like a 14-liter Cummins ISX or a 15-liter Cat C-15 can provide $5,000 to $10,000 in extra resale value over a 10- or 12-liter engine.”

Transmission selection

Another example of spec'ing for resale is the transmission selection. “At time of purchase, a 13-speed manual transmission with 1,650 lb-ft of torque costs more than a 10-speed manual transmission with the same torque,” Gilligan says. “But the 13-speed can command up to $2,000-$3,000 more than the 10-speed in the resale market. You also receive some operational advantages with the three extra ratios.”

Gilligan also advises buyers to spec an engine brake. “It adds around $2,500 in resale value. So you'll suffer a penalty if you don't spec it. You're also getting the benefit of less brake wear while you operate the truck,” he says.

“And be sure to spec an air ride suspension if you want to get a better resale price for your truck in the future,” adds Gilligan. “Air is virtually standard now. You would only spec a mechanical suspension for very special applications.”

Don't forget about the interior. “The interior is one of the first things noticed by used truck buyers whether they're looking at an over-the-road vehicle or a vocational day cab,” says Kenworth's Gilligan. “A nice interior makes the truck more appealing and saleable.”

Gilligan says if you're buying a new truck equipped with a sleeper, a premium-sized sleeper such as the Kenworth 86-inch Studio AeroCab can add $3,000 to $5,000 in resale value over a sleeper.

Extra chrome, aluminum wheels, dual chrome exhaust and lots of bright finish in bumpers, steps, and fuel tanks will also enhance resale value and make the truck a lot easier to move at trade-in,” adds Gilligan.

Finally, extended transferable warranties, complete service records, and consistently following a preventive maintenance schedule can aid in selling used equipment.

Gilligan notes that the Kenworth PremierCare Managed Maintenance Program can help in this area. The Customer Center then tracks maintenance done on the customer's truck at Kenworth dealerships.

“In the final analysis, it's up to each new truck buyer to carefully examine and weigh these various spec'ing for resale options during the new truck purchase process to help reduce life cycle costs over the long haul,” says Gilligan.