about to get a little better for pickup buyers. Chrysler, Ford,
General Motors and Nissan all plan to join Toyota in using a
uniform test for the towing claims they make for their full-size
is good news for car shoppers," said Edmunds.com senior
analyst Bill Visnic. "They can compare apples to apples
when they buy a new pickup."
capacity ó the weight a vehicle can safely haul on a trailer
ó is one of the most important performance figures for
pickups. Everybody from owners of recreational campers to
ranchers, farmers and contractors relies on it to figure out
which truck is right for them. Itís as big a deal as fuel
economy is for a compact car; a higher figure equals higher
buy pickups to tow and haul," said Bob Hegbloom, head of
Chryslerís Ram trucks. "These vehicles are tools. This
brings a standard into place" to ensure all automakers
measure their towing capacity the same way.
every automaker created its own test for acceleration, braking,
stability and other key criteria while towing. Not surprisingly,
their trucks passed with flying colors. Advertised figures for
towing capacity became a bit of a joke. Whenever one company
claimed a new, higher figure, its competitors would quickly
follow suit in a game of one-upmanship.
good for the customer to have all the companies use the same
method to derive their trailer rating," said Doug Scott,
Ford truck marketing manager.
automakersí engineers helped write the test procedure, working
with the Society of Automotive Engineers to create a standard
called J2807. The companies agreed to the standard a few years
ago. Only Toyota initially used it.
is so tough the towing capacity Toyota could claim for its
Tundra full-size pickup immediately fell 400 pounds. That may
explain why the other automakers declined to use a standard theyíd
radically re-engineered 2015 F-150, which will feature an
all-aluminum body, precipitated the change of heart. The F-150
is the best-selling vehicle in the country. In many ways, itís
the pacesetter for full-size pickups. After Ford said the new
model will have a J2807-approved rating, Chevrolet, GMC and Ram
all said their big pickups will, too. The Nissan Titan will
adopt the standard when an all-new model debuts next year.
Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups will also
adhere to the new standard. The Toyota Tacoma midsize already
does. Nissan wonít say when its midsize Frontier will join the
THE MYSTERIOUS DESTINATION FEE: Whatís a destination charge,
and why do you have to pay it ? The charge isnít usually part
of the advertised price, but it can add $1,000 or more when you
buy a new car or truck.
the cost of shipping the vehicle from the plant and what the
dealership did to get it ready for you. Depending on the
manufacturer, that can range from a wash and mechanical
inspection to hand-detailing and a demonstration of features.
destination fee is set by the manufacturer," said Forrest
McConnell, chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association and
owner of McConnell Honda and Acura in Montgomery, Ala.
"Thereís no markup for the dealer."
it the one part of a carís price thatís nonnegotiable.
charges vary from one company to another, and from one vehicle
to another within an automakerís lineup. For instance,
Edmunds.com says Ford charges $825 for a Fiesta subcompact and
$1,195 for an F-150 pickup. Destination charges for imported
vehicles are generally in the same range as domestics, despite
having traveled farther. The charges on a Japanese-made Honda
Fit and German-made BMW 320i are $790 and $925, respectively.
law says the destination charge for a vehicle canít vary from
one part of the country to another. Whether you buy a Cadillac
ATS a mile from the assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., or 2,200
miles away in Beverly Hills, Calif., the fee remains $925.
because buyers from around the country used to flock to Detroit
to see their car built and buy it for hundreds of dollars less
than at their neighborhood dealership, automotive journalist and
historian Mike Davis said. Local dealers objected, so Congress
mandated uniform fees.
pays the same destination charge for a given vehicle,"
Cars.com chief analyst Jesse Toprak said. "For the
consumer, thereís no point wasting time trying to negotiate
it. Even if you donít like it, you have to let it go. Itís
like death and taxes."