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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
NOTE: I discussed this matter with the dealer, and now agree that the term "packing" usually applies to the financing process, in which a dealer adds features and functions to the amount financed. In the case of a new Chevrolet, the dealer orders cars with various dealer-installed "options", with which the car is shipped by GM. Those items (listed below) become part of the deal. However, the term "option" is highly inappropriate because it means "choice" - and since the customer has no option it's take it or leave it. HOWEVER, if the fever can be managed for a few weeks, a car can be ordered with precisely the features/options/add-ons the customer wants. It would have been possible for me to order a new car with NONE of the "dealer-installed options" listed below.
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Just bought a 2017 Premier, and I'm delighted with it.

While shopping, however, I noticed that some dealers - including the one I selected - are "packing" their transactions with nonremovable dealer-installed options, then burying those high-markup items in the sticker.

Examples:
  • $225 for an illuminated charge port
  • $140 for all-weather rubber floor mats - even in S California! ($39.95 on Amazon including cargo mat)
  • $110 for an all-weather rubber cargo mat included in above
  • $60 for a wheel security kit - a set of four lockable lug nuts ($12.26 on Amazon)
  • $575 for "ambient lighting" (vari-color LEDs in the cabin)
  • $60 for a cargo net ($9.99 on Amazon)
THEREFORE, my Packing List of Shame was worth $1,170. The dealer who installed these mandatory items (though they're called "options") on my car was reasonable. When I rejected the deal, the sales guy (another victim in all this) went to his boss and got me another $500 - probably gave up a bit of his commission. But that still left me paying for $670 of unnecessaries, and a lot of frustration, hence this post.

That dealer avoided these eternal favorites, at least on my Volt sale:
  • $200-500 to scotchguard upholstery
  • $250-1000 to "seal" the paint
  • $400-1,500 for glass tinting (one dealer charges $1,500 for "ceramic" tint)
  • $3,495 for extended warranty
  • $500-1,500 for undercoating
I suspect that most of those mandatory dealer-installed non-options generate margins of 90% or more. An exception would be the extended warranty, which was offered on my 2012 at something over $3k. Just before the original warranty expired on that car, I bought a GM Platinum warranty from a Chevy dealer that posts here for a third of that price, as I recall. That suggests that in my case at least, margin on an extended warranty is more than 67%.

In recent years, no dealer has tried to sell me rustproofing. Do you remember that? It consisted of drilling holes in key areas of the car, spraying the interior of panels and rails thus made accessible, and re-sealing with plastic buttons, all for 1,000 or more 1970 dollars.
 

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Congrats on the car. Glad it worked out for you. I haven't seen too much of this recently but, as you say, this stuff is legendary. I'd probably be OK with the floor mats. I normally get those anyway. Hate the lug nuts. Ugh! I'd pay $100 not to have them. But the eternal favorites are always on "auto reject".
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks!

Well, the dealer left the mats but removed the charge.
So - does anyone need some incredibly ugly black rubber mats? The dealer says they're worth $140, but I'd sell these for $137.50. Or so.
 

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I kind of feel sorry for dealers because barring rare trouble, they won't see you for a year or more---and then your first service is free.
So they need to make their money up front--with silly stuff added. No wonder they'd rather sell loaded trucks. Bottom line: no dealer profit on EV's, no sell EV's. In large metropolitan areas I would like to see GM set up one central EV service center al la Tesla, so that each dealer can skip the EV service equipment. That would help, although rural dealers would still have to choose what to do.
 

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I think most of the undercoating places have gone out of business. Look up Rusty Jones on wikipedia. It turns out the very stuff they used to restproof plugged the holes that allowed water to drain through your door, thus causing rust. The warranty claims against them put them out of business.

Extended warranties are usually a waste of money because on average, they collect more than people make claims against. So the only people who should be buying these are the ones who are very unlucky and seem to blow engines and transmissions on every car they own. A better tact is to put the money you would have spent on an extended warranty into a separate bank account and draw against that account when you have maintenance and repairs. You know you will need tires. You know the car will eventually need some sort of repair. Plan for it and save for it. It amazes me how many people avoid paying $600-800 for a new set of tires by trading in their car for 5 to 8 years of additional payments trying to justify a new car purchase by saving money on tires. It's 6th grade math folks.
 

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I think most of the undercoating places have gone out of business. Look up Rusty Jones on wikipedia. It turns out the very stuff they used to restproof plugged the holes that allowed water to drain through your door, thus causing rust. The warranty claims against them put them out of business.

Extended warranties are usually a waste of money because on average, they collect more than people make claims against. So the only people who should be buying these are the ones who are very unlucky and seem to blow engines and transmissions on every car they own. A better tact is to put the money you would have spent on an extended warranty into a separate bank account and draw against that account when you have maintenance and repairs. You know you will need tires. You know the car will eventually need some sort of repair. Plan for it and save for it. It amazes me how many people avoid paying $600-800 for a new set of tires by trading in their car for 5 to 8 years of additional payments trying to justify a new car purchase by saving money on tires. It's 6th grade math folks.
But the new car is soooo much cooler than new tires. ;)
 

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I have the all weather mats (front, rear, cargo) and think they are great. Besides making it easy to capture and remove shoe and boot dirt, keep snow and salt off the carpet, they also act as sound deadeners.

Dealers who try to sell me a car with all the after-market crap they want to load on the car will find me walking out the door. I'll make my own choices, thank you.
 

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Well, the dealer left the mats but removed the charge.
So - does anyone need some incredibly ugly black rubber mats? The dealer says they're worth $140, but I'd sell these for $137.50. Or so.
Unlike the standard mats, they don't show the wear. That makes my wife happy. And that makes me happy. LOL Seriously, they can take abuse and be none the worse for wear.
 

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Thanks!

Well, the dealer left the mats but removed the charge.
So - does anyone need some incredibly ugly black rubber mats? The dealer says they're worth $140, but I'd sell these for $137.50. Or so.
If you got the mats for free, I recommend you just give them away for free (or at a minimum charge for shipping) so someone in a snowy state can use them. I gave away my volt loincloth to some person in need in FL (i didn't need it as I bought a voltshelf) and a few months later someone shipped me a set of rubber floor mats and later another person shipped me a voltscreen. Good deeds find a way of working themselves out.
 

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Extended warranties are usually a waste of money because on average, they collect more than people make claims against. So the only people who should be buying these are the ones who are very unlucky and seem to blow engines and transmissions on every car they own. A better tact is to put the money you would have spent on an extended warranty into a separate bank account and draw against that account when you have maintenance and repairs.
While I'm sympathetic to this sentiment, its logic is faulty. The same argument applies to every single form of insurance. Home Owners, medical, car....

The point of insurance isn't that you come out ahead, its to reduce overall risk. i.e. I'm going to pay $100 a month so I never get hit with a a $50K payment. The chance that I get hit with a $50K payment is relatively low, but if I can reduce it to 0 in a manner that fits within my budgeting, then I'm much better off having a non zero risk and getting hit with a $50K payment that can cause damage to my finances.

I like to joke that buying insurance is the inverse of gambling, you don't want to hit the jackpot with the money you gamble on it.
 

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While I'm sympathetic to this sentiment, its logic is faulty. The same argument applies to every single form of insurance. Home Owners, medical, car....

The point of insurance isn't that you come out ahead, its to reduce overall risk. i.e. I'm going to pay $100 a month so I never get hit with a a $50K payment. The chance that I get hit with a $50K payment is relatively low, but if I can reduce it to 0 in a manner that fits within my budgeting, then I'm much better off having a non zero risk and getting hit with a $50K payment that can cause damage to my finances.

I like to joke that buying insurance is the inverse of gambling, you don't want to hit the jackpot with the money you gamble on it.
There's lots of insurance that you must have. You must have a life insurance policy if you are young, not rich, and have a spouse and kids who depend on your income. You must carry likability insurance in case you damage property or injure someone while driving. And you must have medical insurance because a single major health event will bankrupt you.

Most other insurance is pure profit for the insurance companies. Extended warranties, cancer insurance and whole life policies are gimmick insurance policies which make the insurance companies a huge amount of money. Statistically, about 12% of automotive extended warranties actually need to pay out for a claim. That means the rest of the money they collect is pure profit. Immediately after purchasing my volt, I started getting tons of postcards, letters, and phone calls all offering extended warranties from all sorts of companies trying hard to trick you into thinking this is the GM warranty when it really isn't. Why do you think they're beign this aggressive? Because there's big money in this business.

I don't know where you are getting this $50K payment. No volt is worth $50k. And if you are unlucky enough to mechanically destroy a car, that $100 per month would go a very long way towards a decent replacement, even used.

Americans spend an amazing amount of money on stupid things (credit card interest, extended warranties, whole life policies, buyign everything they can get ahold of to keep up with the Joneses). If we all stopped paying this stupid tax, we'd get on the other side of this compounding interest formula where your investments are earning more than your annual salary. Then at that point, you can ghost ride your vehicle off a cliff and just buy another one and it would feel like a small flea of an aggravation.

So do this experiment. Had you not paid that $100 per month, would you have spent $3600 in out-of-warranty repairs over a 3 year period?

Here's a real-life example that I just experienced. I bought an Amana refrigerator for $1300 ten years ago. Last month it broke. Had I paid for the extended warranty, it would have cost $180 per year, thus I would have paid $1800 over the life of ownership to have them come repair it when it broke. Who knows if they could have gotten the parts 10 years down the road (I didn't check), but I could have purchased a brand new comparable refrigerator for less than that $1800 paid over 10 years. We took this opportunity to upgrade to a really nice counter depth French door Bosch as an upgrade. I'm in much better position today to pay much more for a refrigerator as two kids are through college and my savings is much better than it was 10 years ago. Taking that $1800 I didn't spend on an extended warranty and adding $1000 got me one beast of a nice refrigerator.

Bringing it back to my volt, I fully intend to drive this volt into the ground. I'm at 78k miles right now, and had I spent that extra $3400-3800 for an extended warranty, it's looking like I probably wouldn't end up using it. So far I've only had to pay $160 for Paula the service advisor to torque my nuts, and $100 for a passenger seat airbag sensor replacement. (There I've now jinxed it and will have a major problem between now and 100k miles. But don't forget, powertrain warranty goes much longer than the bumper to bumper warranty.
 

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LL, you really do know how to get great value for dollar spent... ;)
Yes, my wife is very jealous of Paula because she sees me an aweful lot, since it is a Chevy-Cadillac dealership and I have 2 Chevys and a Caddy (plus I used to also have a Deville). That particular incident, I really should have gone to Sears for the right sized 1/2 inch socket and torqued my own nuts (axle nuts) but I stupidly was convinced there was a bad bearing or something in the tranny. As a result, elemental and others saved trips to the dealership and we get lots of joy talking about nut torquing.
 

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The point of insurance isn't that you come out ahead, its to reduce overall risk.
+1. Exactly right. Same reason why some people buy annuities that pay out immediately or wait until age 70 to start collecting Social Security. Leasing can also a form of risk reduction.
 

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llninja let me quote what you said again

"Extended warranties are usually a waste of money because on average, they collect more than people make claims against. So the only people who should be buying these are the ones who are very unlucky and seem to blow engines and transmissions on every car they own. A better tact is to put the money you would have spent on an extended warranty into a separate bank account and draw against that account when you have maintenance and repairs."

they are a waste BECAUSE "on average they collect more than people make claims against".

that logic applies equally to all forms of insurance.

I also said I'm sympathetic to the argument, but disagree with the logical statement.

You even prove the point about life insurance. Life insurance companies make huge profits as well. The reason you buy it is to take a small hit today so you don't take a big hit in the future, which is tha argument I was making. One can extend this to comprehensive insurance on a car. You get it so if you total your car and you are at fault, you can replace it without it being a huge sum out of pocket.

the reason I'm sympathetic here as I don't believe the extended warranties cover much and protect you all that much. I did get the GM XS-Wear insurance on my lease, but that's simply becaues on a 3 year 15K mile lease there's a good chance I'll need new tires at the end of the lease and XS-Wear covers that. As it only cost me $600 which is in the ballpark of what 4 tires would cost, I figured, what the heck. Otherwise I wouldn't have purchased it, as I don't think its going to help me much otherwise.
 

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with that said, you did write "usually" which I missed which modified the statement, I read it more absolute than it actually was.
 

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they are a waste BECAUSE "on average they collect more than people make claims against".

that logic applies equally to all forms of insurance.
Everything you said here is true. If you are a safe driver, and are financially secure enough to take the loss if you damage or total your car, you are on average better off going with the minimum legally required insurance. This is what I've done for most of my life, in fact, driving older cars and carrying liability only, and I've saved many many thousands and never regretted it. The new car is too expensive, though, can't take that kind of hit. Plus it's financed.

Anyway, yes, the general consensus is that extended warranties are a waste of money. And the reason it is a waste of money is not because they make money on it (that's to be expected), the reason is that they make *obscene* money on it. As an insurance plan, it's just a bad deal, and the dealer offered plan is likely to be the plan that makes the most money for them, not the plan that's the best deal for you. You can shop around, there's no rush, you have full bumper to bumper for the first 3 years/36,000. And, unlike catastrophic health insurance or accident liability insurance, routine car repairs are rarely crazy expensive. You can 99% of the time do much better by just setting aside a similar amount of money you would have spent on the extended warranty each month for future repairs. Chances are that rainy day fund will never see a zero balance.
 

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llninja let me quote what you said again

"Extended warranties are usually a waste of money because on average, they collect more than people make claims against. So the only people who should be buying these are the ones who are very unlucky and seem to blow engines and transmissions on every car they own. A better tact is to put the money you would have spent on an extended warranty into a separate bank account and draw against that account when you have maintenance and repairs."

they are a waste BECAUSE "on average they collect more than people make claims against".

that logic applies equally to all forms of insurance.

I also said I'm sympathetic to the argument, but disagree with the logical statement.

You even prove the point about life insurance. Life insurance companies make huge profits as well. The reason you buy it is to take a small hit today so you don't take a big hit in the future, which is tha argument I was making. One can extend this to comprehensive insurance on a car. You get it so if you total your car and you are at fault, you can replace it without it being a huge sum out of pocket.

the reason I'm sympathetic here as I don't believe the extended warranties cover much and protect you all that much. I did get the GM XS-Wear insurance on my lease, but that's simply becaues on a 3 year 15K mile lease there's a good chance I'll need new tires at the end of the lease and XS-Wear covers that. As it only cost me $600 which is in the ballpark of what 4 tires would cost, I figured, what the heck. Otherwise I wouldn't have purchased it, as I don't think its going to help me much otherwise.
i agree if you can't take a big hit on the loss of a vehicle, then get comprehensive. I for one used to get comprehensive for the first 3-5 years of car ownership, then as depreciation kicks in, turn it off as they will only give you the value of your used car, not a new one anyway. That said, the goal is to have a big enough emergency fund in place so if you were to wreck a car, you can just reach in there and get another one. And instead of paying for multiple extended warranties spread out to multiple insurers, I have become self insured with about $30-40k of cash on hand, ready to use when life throws me a curve ball. Last month when the refrigerator broke, I dipped into the emergency fund to get a new one. When the rim cracked on the volt, again, emergency fund purchase. Then in months when nothing happens, it's emergency fund replenish mode.

Full disclosure, I did recently purchase an extended warranty on some laser printers purchased from Staples. I had gone through 5 inkjet printers in about 7 years, even had two of them replaced under HP's warranty. I found two amazing deals: $139 for a color laserjet multifunction and $49 for a black and white laserjet (mostly to save on wear and tear on the color when I need B&W printing). They had a SquareTrade extended warranty for $15 and $5 respectively, and since I seem to be unlucky when it comes to printers, I spent the $20 for 3 years of coverage. I probably shouldn't have as I went to laser because ink jets are so problematics (all the moving parts, stepper motors starting and stopping the feed of paper and movement of the printhead is much more complex than a laser printer which just pushes paper over a fuser and drum. I fully expect that the $20 was flushed down the toilet, but it was a really small price to pay for some peace of mind. This small price was mostly because I was able to buy a $399 laser printer heavily discounted to $139, and squaretrade covers it as a percentage of the purchase price. Plus, had I waited a month, that $139 could have been $119 as the printer got discounted again. Only time will tell whether this was a wise decision or a stupid tax. The good news, I bought a color laser printer, my son got one, my sister got one, and I got one for my daughter headed to med school. So even if my printer fails, any spare toner cartridges can go to one of my relatives rather than get sold or given away on Craigslist.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Revisiting the topic (as the OP):

When Weseloh (Carlsbad, CA) sold me my wonderful 2017 Premiere, the sales manager who orders cars from GM (Danny Jimenez, I believe) had added a bunch of high-markup "dealer-installed options": rubber mats, locking lugnuts, illuminated charge port, interior mood lighting, cargo net (the anti-traffic levitation system is backordered). The total was $1,170, and I'm reasonably certain that those items generated 90% or more margin. When I began unraveling the deal, the (competent) salesperson - Carmine - extracted a last-minute $500 from the dealership, lowering the overcharge to $670. My gross cost was just under $39k including tax/license but ignoring $9k in tax break and rebate, financed at zero percent for five years. I'm ok with that.

I have since visited several dealerships and determined that ALL OF THEM pad their cars with unrequested "dealer-installed options", but selection and pricing vary greatly from one to another. My dealer - Weseloh - had the most expensive list by far.

My point is that if you're contemplating a new car (not just a Volt), you must either negotiate hard and be prepared to walk away, or order the car without those unnecessities and wait up to six weeks for delivery.

The dealer just sent me a Starbucks gratitude card worth five dollars ($5). For a $39k transaction that gift is simply amusing...

Since I've named Weseloh Chevrolet in Carlsbad, CA, our new Volt probably won't go there for service; they might spit in my soup.
 
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