We knew it. Well, a few of us talking in the office kind of guessed it, but now we’ve been proven right. What were we right about? Those expensive in-car navigation systems actually lower resale value, according to ALG. American Honda Finance also shows that navigation-equipped used models are worth 1% less than non-navigation-equipped models, even though the option is roughly $2,000 when added to a new-car price.
The reason? Technology. Or, more importantly, how rapidly technology advances. The proof is in the booming portable navigation business: Companies like Garmin are seeing huge profits with their latest miniature units, which come equipped with Bluetooth, MP3 capabilities and more for under $1,000. Some models even cost less than $200, and they can be easily updated. Think of how outdated built-in car phones were not too long ago. That same stigma could be attached to current in-car navigation systems.
Hyundai is one automaker that thinks factory-installed systems are on the way out, and the recent Santa Fe we tested didn’t have one as an option. Luxury companies like Acura say they’re sticking to the in-car systems because people expect the option in a luxury car, and the thought of a small unit stuck to the window is displeasing.
We suggest car companies start building in “cubbies” that will properly fit and display portable devices, whether they’re aftermarket nav systems, MP3 players or PDAs, if they don’t offer a navigation option. What do you think?