Don’t you just love that new scooter smell? Nothing is more tempting than a glossy rainbow of fresh new scooters lined up at your local dealer for the choosing.
New scooters come with added peace of mind: a warranty and a known history. But you’ll pay a premium for it. If saving money is your number one goal, a used scooter may be a better bet. Still, buying new has definite charms and may provide benefits you haven’t considered. Let’s have a look.
Benefits of Buying a New Scooter
Here are some items for your “pros” list.
A new scooter is just… NEW!
It’s flawless and shiny and mine all mine!
New scooters provide instant gratification
You can decide what model you want, walk into the dealership, and ride it home an hour later. No need to search the classified ads or wait for your perfect match on craigslist.
New scooters come with a full factory warranty
Depending on the manufacturer, your scooter may come with a 1- or 2-year warranty. You may also have the opportunity to buy an extended warranty from the dealer if you want one. Some manufacturers, like Vespa, add on roadside assistance.
Coverage like this can supply great peace of mind, especially if you are relying on your scoot as your sole mode of transport or are concerned about breaking down in the sketchy part of town.
I cover my personal experience with warranties (and lack of thereof) here.
You can finance your new scooter
If you don’t have the cash handy to swing your new purchase, many dealers offer financing. The interest rate tends to be much higher than a car since scooters are usually considered “recreational vehicles.”
But you may also be able to participate in a manufacturer financing deal when they’re offered, like the like Vespa Spring Sales Event that got me on my new GTS a couple years ago.
Drawbacks of Buying New
There are two sides to any argument. Here are some items for the “cons” portion of our list.
New scooters are more expensive
New scooters cost more than used scooters, plain and simple.
New scooters lose value quickly
Like most vehicles, scooters lose a big chunk of their value the second you ride them off the lot. Even six months later, your scooter will be worth about 20% less just because it’s “used.” Keep this in mind if you intend to upgrade or re-sell your scooter.
You pay dealer set-up fees on a new scooter
Dealers charge “set up fees” on new scooters, and some charge freight or shipping as well (even if the scooter was shipped way before you came along).
Set-up fees can run $300 – $600 and are sometimes rolled into the “tax, title and administrative” fees. MSRP doesn’t tell the whole story.
You have limited negotiating power at the dealership
While you can go to a private sale with a wad of cash in your hand and talk the seller down, you have limited negotiating power at the dealership on brand new scooters. In a down economy, you will probably have more pull in the showroom, but the MSRP is not terribly flexible.
New scooters require early service
New scooters require a few regularly scheduled service appointments in the beginning as they “run in.” These are around the 500, 1000 and 3000 mile mark, and include service like oil and filter changes, which are required to keep your warranty valid.
Service is not normally included in the purchase price of the scooter and can add an additional $400 – $500 to your first year of ownership.
My Vespa GTS needed the 500- and 1000-mile service the first month of ownership, so keep that in mind if you plan to do a lot of riding. And trust me, you’ll want to do a lot of riding!
It hurts more when it gets scuffed up
If you drop your scooter or it gets bumped in a parking lot, it hurts more if it’s new. This may seem like a lame reason to buy a used scooter, but lots of newbies put their scooters down the first year of ownership.
It might be worth considering a used scooter you can scratch up a little while learning to ride without wanting to kick yourself. It’s very hard to see your flawless, glossy custom paint job mucked up. As always, I speak from highly personal experience.
Ultimately, your decision comes down to your comfort level and your price point. Be sure to review the pros and cons of buying a used scooter before you decide. Do you like to gamble or do you want the sure thing? Only you can answer that one.
Kristin, your readers have considerable negotiating power in the present economy. MSRP stands for ‘manufacturer’s SUGGESTED retail price. Sales in 2009 were down 60% from the previous year, so don’t be afraid to suggest something lower, or suggest throwing in some free accessories. It’s a buyers market!
Thanks Steve – that is good news for buyers! Being able to negotiate certainly tips the scales favorably toward new scooters. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when I head in for my new GTS 300!