Auto destination charges soar amid record-high sticker prices


GM said a vehicle’s size factors into shipping fees.

A spokesman said the company looks “at all input expenses across each mode of transportation and each vehicle cost is calculated by type,” and he added that “it typically costs less to transport smaller vehicles versus larger vehicles.”

“Therefore, model mix comes into play as the larger the vehicle you ship, the higher the expense,” the spokesman said in a statement. “We reevaluate these charges periodically in order to make sure they are competitive and fair.”

GM’s average shipping fee, according to Edmunds, has risen 21 percent to $1,242 from the 2017 to 2021 model years. GM’s brand websites show that shipping fees for two of its smallest crossovers, the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore, rose to $1,195 for the 2022 model year from $995 previously.

Hyundai said its shipping fees cover a variety of logistical and processing costs in the delivery of a vehicle.

“Hyundai monitors these costs and periodically adjusts destination charges to reflect the market conditions,” the automaker said in a statement.

American Honda charges shipping fees of $1,015 for cars and $1,225 for light trucks. It said those amounts “are based on the average cost of transporting a vehicle from the production location to the dealer along with allowances for certain variable costs.”

Honda said it averages transportation costs for cars and light trucks separately to determine a uniform charge “for all models in those two segments as part of the effort to provide customers a complete picture of pricing information.”

Toyota Motor North America has four tiers of shipping fees, ranging from $1,025 for cars to $1,695 for the Tundra full-size pickup. Its website discloses that the company “may make a profit on the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.”

Bob Carter, Toyota Motor North America head of sales, said the company monitors rival companies when setting its shipping fees.

“We market base price to where the competition is with our [delivery, processing and handling] and, quite frankly, it’s reflective of the fuel surcharges that are going out,” Carter said.

“You know what’s happening with the industry with steel prices, and overall commodity prices are much more significant. But the industry has been … pretty restrained. Where the margin improvement is for the manufacturer is on the reduction of incentives needed in this market.”



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