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  • TheMotorist Team

On the road fees – Do you REALLY need to pay them?

Buyers Advice: On the road fees

You’re at one of the last stages of your deal. You’ve picked the colour, options and the finance plan. The deal has now been invoiced and the sales person prints out an “Offer To Purchase” document. This document tells you the relevant information about your car and how the deal is structured. It works as an official way for you to commit to the dealership to say “I want to buy your car”. As you look through all the details, you see a section entitled “On The Road” with a figure on it. Generally this figure can vary between R2500.00 up to R5000.00. When you ask the sales person what this is he, gives you a whole shpeel about how it’s an amount all dealerships charge clients when they buy a new car. Is this true? Sadly yes and we’ll explain why.

VW Polo R Line in South Africa

A dealership is made up of different departments. Sales, service and parts. All these departments act as separate business but still work together to give the consumer a one-stop shop for all your vehicle needs. When your new car comes from the factory, it doesn’t work. The car is in what they call “transport mode”. In this mode, there are components on the suspension to make it easy for it to be off-loaded on a truck, there are covers on the seats and the electronics aren’t fully functional. Your car is in the same state your TV is when it’s still in the box. Unlike your TV though, to make the car work, more is needed than a owner’s manual and a screw driver. Trained technicians and expensive software is used to get your car showroom ready. The workshop is the department entrusted to handle this and once their done waking your car up from its slumber, they charge the new car department a fee for this service. This fee is then added to the sale of your car, hence why it’s called “On The Road”, because it ensures that your car is ready to be used.

Hybrid MINI: MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

Is there a way for the dealership to waive this fee?

It depends on how the deal is structured. If you’ve been given a discount on the deal, chances are that you’ll be paying this fee. If you haven’t been given any discount, the sales person could waive this fee and take it off the profit that will be made from this deal. Remember that dealerships work on margins, so if the car you’re buying is expensive, there is a bigger chance of them opting not to charge you this since there is a profit to work with. If you’re buying a cheapy though and you can see that the poor sales person is banking on this deal to eat, you’ll probably have to pay it.

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