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Depreciation, Residuals, Servicing/Repair Costs - Myth or Fact, Poor or Bad.

WelshGas

WelshGas

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We all talk about the California depreciating at a lower rate than other high end vehicles, having higher residuals of many comparatively expensive vehicles, of servicing or repair costs, Insurance costs etc:, but I believe many people are not comparing like with like and in fact the picture is a damn sight rosier than many think.
1. Depreciation - all vehicles depreciate when bought new and driven off the forecourt. But the California, unless bought on a wholly PCP basis, because VW Finance charge you for that perceived depreciation, significantly less than any other £60+k vehicle.
2. Residuals - Californias are sought after. There is no significant competition of a Major Vehicle Manufacturer for such a Vehicle. Maybe the Marco Polo, based on a Mercedes Vehicle but not wholly built by them, only sold.
3. Servicing/Repair costs. You might complain but it is based on a commercial vehicle and commercial vehicles have to have comparatively low service/repair costs or fleet managers aren’t going to buy them, but they do in significant numbers. So you should really compare the California service and running costs with a similar high end costing vehicle, BMW or Range Rover. Some of those costs can be eye watering.
4. Insurance Costs. People might moan but the costs for other high worth vehicles can be significant.
5. Road Tax and fuel costs are comparable with most £60+k vehicles on the road.

BUT what no one ever seems to take into account is the X factor of owning a California.
1. How much you have saved on your accommodation and living expenses when holidaying and staying in the California, even if the campsite you use costs £50/night.
2. Days out and weekends taken on the spur of the moment because you have a California and not a Range Rover.
3. The cost/benefit to you of sitting in your own lounge at the Motorway Services instead of with the masses.

If your California is your 3rd vehicle then you are not saving as much compared with using it as a daily driver, only the fuel, as road tax and insurance are still paid whilst on the drive.

For me, personally, I think I’m quids in and possibly in profit compared to owning a Range Rover or equivalent vehicle and staying in and visiting the places I have over the past 5 yrs of ownership. I know some of the trips I probably wouldn’t have done.

So when you’re doing the sums compare everything and don’t forget the +tve side of the ledger and cost that up as well.
 
Eber123

Eber123

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Good morning,

Interesting train of thoughts.

Before I decided to buy the California I had similar thoughts as well and tried to follow this up searching information of other California users about their experience.

After over two years owning the van as a daily drive I believe that most of the items you mentioned are true. But getting older I am in the process to change my point of view a wee bit.

Using the California only as a camper a few times a year (actually also like motorhomes) are a luxury, beside the advantages listed. It is, in my opinion, a bit like a holiday home in a foreign country. Because of this all associated costs would count under luxury items.
Using it as a daily drive might be a bit different. In Ireland camper vans are taxed differently. At the moment I pay EUR 102.00 (long may it last). Which is interesting because a Caravelle with the same engine cost significant more!
Diesel consumption is a bit higher than my Tiguan. Religiously I write down how much diesel I buy. The van uses in average 7 to 7.5 liter / 100 km (regardless what it said on the dahsboard, the information is simply wrong). This is more than my Tiguan from 2012 did (even after the software update). This is a good usage for a 2.5 t vehicle. But of course it could be that a price wise compatible car might uses even much more.

Service costs seems to me very similar to the Tiguan. So there are no savings here. But we should not forget that there is so much more in a California that could go wrong which means that additional repair costs could occur. My recent experience with the turbo charger makes me think. Maybe I was lucky, but in previous cars I never had to face very high repair bills (Toyota). The turbo charger would have costs me thousands (which I could not effort), and watching this forum there seems to be a lot of repairs which many of them are extraordinary expensive. Again, that might be similar with all expensive cars.

But there is something else. Beside the California is a camper, I love to drive it. Maybe a different version of the VW vans would be an alternative, Caravelle or even the PanAmerican (which I don't know if it is possible to get in Ireland in the first place)? Well, no because there are only 2x of us and we won't need that much space.
As it was mentioned the California is the link between daily drive and flexibility of full grown camper vans or even motorhomes. It is still small enough to get around almost everywhere, but capable to be a home for holidays, over nights or just pick nicks.

As I mentioned several times to my "poor VW service advisor" the California is so much more than a vehicle - and because of this all the costs are part of a "life style" (I am not happy with this expression, but I can't think about a different, better one).

Just my thoughts.

Happy California
Eberhard
 
Nick&Sara

Nick&Sara

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I totally agree with Eberhard and very well written, but like you the "lifestyle" expression is a bit naff but so true.
 
Calimili

Calimili

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Well another huge advantage of the Cali is the support after purchasing it. No, not the VW one! I mean the forum(s)!!
There's nothing for which you wouldn't find a solution or advice or help. There is a huge mass of info available for this California model which has been developing through the years.
For other "Big Whites", since there are a few dozen brands and manufacturers, and for each brand several RV models, the advice on their forums is nowhere near what you get for the California specifically .
Nobody is so fanatic about a particular brand of "motorhome" as Californias.
This additional support has been for me a huge factor in deciding, since I had similar positive experience with Harley D motorcycles and BMW 3series. Fanatics about these brands/models all over the world. Tons of valuable information that helps in buying, accessorise, repair, driver, camp etc.
 
AlisonF

AlisonF

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Well another huge advantage of the Cali is the support after purchasing it. No, not the VW one! I mean the forum(s)!!
There's nothing for which you wouldn't find a solution or advice or help. There is a huge mass of info available for this California model which has been developing through the years.
For other "Big Whites", since there are a few dozen brands and manufacturers, and for each brand several RV models, the advice on their forums is nowhere near what you get for the California specifically .
Nobody is so fanatic about a particular brand of "motorhome" as Californias.
This additional support has been for me a huge factor in deciding, since I had similar positive experience with Harley D motorcycles and BMW 3series. Fanatics about these brands/models all over the world. Tons of valuable information that helps in buying, accessorise, repair, driver, camp etc.
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I would have sold long ago without the help from this forum - and been significantly out of pocket as the dealer is unfamiliar with Cali’s...
 
Eber123

Eber123

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Good afternoon,

I agree also. There are forum(s) (is that the right word?) for many different car brands. I looked into several for the VW Tiguan, but none of them is so good as our one!

Sharing information and experience or asking questions is easy and information is plentiful. My VW dealer sells the most Californias in Ireland, but still lacks a wee bit on experience (see turbo charger or installation of a second, small drawer under the back bench).

Reading up information in the forum is the best way to prepare before contacting the VW dealer.

Regards,
Eberhard
 
ArunAlec

ArunAlec

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Well another huge advantage of the Cali is the support after purchasing it. No, not the VW one! I mean the forum(s)!!
There's nothing for which you wouldn't find a solution or advice or help. There is a huge mass of info available for this California model which has been developing through the years.
For other "Big Whites", since there are a few dozen brands and manufacturers, and for each brand several RV models, the advice on their forums is nowhere near what you get for the California specifically .
Nobody is so fanatic about a particular brand of "motorhome" as Californias.
This additional support has been for me a huge factor in deciding, since I had similar positive experience with Harley D motorcycles and BMW 3series. Fanatics about these brands/models all over the world. Tons of valuable information that helps in buying, accessorise, repair, driver, camp etc.
Read your first sentence and got worried!
 
P

PeteS

Messages
118
Location
Bristol
Vehicle
N/A
We all talk about the California depreciating at a lower rate than other high end vehicles, having higher residuals of many comparatively expensive vehicles, of servicing or repair costs, Insurance costs etc:, but I believe many people are not comparing like with like and in fact the picture is a damn sight rosier than many think.
1. Depreciation - all vehicles depreciate when bought new and driven off the forecourt. But the California, unless bought on a wholly PCP basis, because VW Finance charge you for that perceived depreciation, significantly less than any other £60+k vehicle.
2. Residuals - Californias are sought after. There is no significant competition of a Major Vehicle Manufacturer for such a Vehicle. Maybe the Marco Polo, based on a Mercedes Vehicle but not wholly built by them, only sold.
3. Servicing/Repair costs. You might complain but it is based on a commercial vehicle and commercial vehicles have to have comparatively low service/repair costs or fleet managers aren’t going to buy them, but they do in significant numbers. So you should really compare the California service and running costs with a similar high end costing vehicle, BMW or Range Rover. Some of those costs can be eye watering.
4. Insurance Costs. People might moan but the costs for other high worth vehicles can be significant.
5. Road Tax and fuel costs are comparable with most £60+k vehicles on the road.

BUT what no one ever seems to take into account is the X factor of owning a California.
1. How much you have saved on your accommodation and living expenses when holidaying and staying in the California, even if the campsite you use costs £50/night.
2. Days out and weekends taken on the spur of the moment because you have a California and not a Range Rover.
3. The cost/benefit to you of sitting in your own lounge at the Motorway Services instead of with the masses.

If your California is your 3rd vehicle then you are not saving as much compared with using it as a daily driver, only the fuel, as road tax and insurance are still paid whilst on the drive.

For me, personally, I think I’m quids in and possibly in profit compared to owning a Range Rover or equivalent vehicle and staying in and visiting the places I have over the past 5 yrs of ownership. I know some of the trips I probably wouldn’t have done.

So when you’re doing the sums compare everything and don’t forget the +tve side of the ledger and cost that up as well.
Just to add to the comparison the Mercedes is sold through the car dealerships and as a result the servicing cost are very high. A major service is £1200 but the Mercedes Service Plan does help to reduce this price.
My old Caravelle was serviced through the VW Commercial dealers and the servicing costs were less than £400 for a major service.
 
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