FCA Mum On Big Destination Charge Increases

By

Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - March 8, 2018

Bulletins sent to dealers show Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has quietly increased destination charges this month by $250 on most 2018 cars and trucks. That may not sound like much, but it equates to an increase of up to 25%.

Although a spokesperson declined to comment on the company's rationale, this means an $18,000 Jeep Renegade costs considerably more to ship than a $230,000 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG.

So what's unusual about the change? And what should you expect to pay now for each brand?

Here's what you need to know.

Hidden Price Increase

It's a good bet that the cost to ship a car from the factory is probably one of the last things on the minds of shoppers. However, destination charges do have an impact on the price you pay.

In the case of a Chrysler Pacifica, the MSRP for the vehicle's cheapest trim starts at $26,995, the sort of price you'll see in manufacturer ads. However, its actual price is now $28,340 when including the latest shipping charge.

Our analysis shows the changes equate to a $250 increase across most 2018 models under the FCA family of brands, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, FIAT and Alfa Romeo.

The biggest changes are happening on FIATs and Alfa Romeos, which are going from $995 to $1,245, a 25.1% increase. Even newer vehicles like the redesigned Wrangler JL are affected, increasing from $1,195 to $1,445.

Here are examples from each brand.

Alfa Romeo Giulia: Increased from $995 to $1,245 (+25.1%)

FIAT 500X: Increased from $995 to $1,245 (+25.1%)

Chrysler Pacifica: Increased from $1,095 to $1,345 (+22.8%)

Dodge Challenger: Increased from $1,095 to $1,345 (+22.8%)

Jeep Renegade: Increased from $1,195 to $1,445 (+20.9%)

RAM 1500: Increased from $1,395 to $1,645 (+17.9%)

Out Of Step?

Freight charge changes aren't unusual. However, the sort of adjustments we generally see are on the order of $10 or $50. This latest change is considerably more severe.

For reference, some examples of what competitors charge include the Ford Explorer at $945, the all-new Toyota Camry at $895 and the redesigned Honda Accord at $890.

So does it make sense to have to pay $1,445 to ship a Jeep Renegade when Mercedes-Benz charges $995 to ship a $230,000 S65 AMG?

For the average consumer, probably not.

, Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website