Automakers throttle back on options

Feb. 27, 2012 at 3:12 PM
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DETROIT, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Automakers are finding fewer options for customers means lower costs and fewer headaches for U.S. auto dealers, experts said.

Different configurations for trim and extra features can create thousands of customized combinations for a vehicle mixing and matching sound systems, paint color and trim.

But the trend now is to cut the size of the options menu, USA Today reported Monday.

The trend diminishes the option of "creating complexity for the sake of complexity," said Chuck Russell, General Motors' director of compact cars, North America.

While nearly a third of Porsche buyers still custom-outfit their new car, Buick has trimmed its options down to 18 for the Verano. Volkswagen has cut options down from 148 to 15 for the Passat.

To keep appeal high, but cut back on customers who customize, automakers are now selling packages of options.

Customers can opt for power side doors on a new Sienna, but to do so means they also must purchase the satellite radio option. Similarly, a consumer purchasing a Passat can opt for the sunroof, but only if also buying the high-end sound system, the newspaper said.

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