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Car Navigation Is a Rip Off

car navigation system

WLF Car Accident Lawyers Say Save Your Money

It was not so long ago when only luxury cars used to have onboard navigation systems. Today, they have become almost ubiquitous. Even economy cars offer them these days. However, while the price of portable GPS systems have fallen below $200, the price of onboard systems are still around $2,000, which makes them unaffordable to the average car buyer. There is an increasing sentiment among auto analysts, buyers and car accident lawyers that car navigation is a rip off.

The factory navigation system on the new Infinity G37 costs around $1,850. The price is $1,900 on a BMW 3 series and $2,150 on a BMW 5 series. On the Lexus ES, it costs $2,675. Even on cheaper cars, onboard navigations systems do not come any cheaper than $1,500. In comparison, the prices of portable navigation system range from $50 to $200. You can get most smartphone navigation system free of charge.

Why are onboard navigation systems so expensive? Chris Schreiner, director of the Automotive Consumer Insights Practice at Strategy Analytics has an answer. He says that “the main factor is the general cost of integrating the navigation system with the rest of the infotainment unit and vehicle control.”

He is right there. Onboard navigation systems come with features that include system integration (it is seamlessly integrated in the car’s infotainment unit and vehicle control), larger screen, factory warranty, reduced chance of theft, no issues getting the map and driving information, and voice integration through steering wheels control. An onboard navigation system can also improve the resale value of your car. All these features sound great and certainly justify a higher price compared to portable systems, which lack these features.

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But factory navigation systems also have their downsides. The maps available are typically current only in the year of purchase. After that, you need to purchase a DVD or memory card to update the maps, which can cost you between $75 and $200. Another drawback is that some onboard navigation systems do not let you input directions while your car is moving. It is meant as a safety feature, but you might find it rather limiting.

Another reason, and the perhaps the real reason, could be that car navigation systems are still treated as an accessory rather than an integral part of the system. So while they are growing in popularity, they are still not considered absolutely necessary, just like power steering systems when they first arrived. It is an accepted fact that accessories and options have a higher price tag, because buyers who want them usually pay up without a fuss. They are, after all, optional.

So car manufacturers stubbornly keep the prices of onboard systems high while the prices of portable systems have fallen and are still falling. It seems their attitude is like “If you can’t afford our system, then don’t buy it. We have plenty of other buyers.” This could be the reason why the more expensive the car, the higher the price of its onboard navigation system. They know that their wealthy customers are happy to show off a navigation system that they can brag about to their peers.

Automakers are ripping off their customers and most car buyers have no idea that they are being ripped off. If you feel the same way, then you can always opt for portable and smartphone navigation systems that come at a far cheaper price and do the same job.

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Despite having the latest and the best car navigation system, you can still get in an accident due to the fault of a negligent driver. If you have been injured in an accident, talk to experienced car accident lawyers to find out how you can get compensated for your damages.

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