Tim MarrsCar and Driver
Anyone who has ever ordered something online or from a late-night infomercial is familiar with the phrase “plus shipping and handling.” In the auto industry, a destination charge is essentially the same thing.
Also commonly referred to as a delivery fee or a freight fee, a destination charge is a fixed rate that’s predetermined by each automaker to cover the cost of transporting new vehicles from the factory to the dealership. This non-negotiable fee varies by make and model and is baked into the final sale price, but it’s required by law to be included on every window sticker.
We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most expensive delivery fees for new models sold (or soon to be sold) in the U.S. and ranked them by manufacturer. While most destination charges fall in the $995-$1695 range, with large SUVs and pickup trucks typically costing more than cars and smaller crossovers, at least partly because they occupy more space on transport trailers, the priciest surcharges are generally affixed to the most exotic and luxurious machines on the market.
What makes shipping these vehicles two to three times more expensive than mainstream ones? That’s a great question. We asked several automakers on this list–including Lamborghini and Ferrari–but they declined to discuss the topic. Still, it stands to reason that shipping a six-figure supercar or an ultra-luxury ute requires extra care and precautions to protect the precious cargo, which likely contributes to their higher delivery fees. The biggest outlier on this list is Jeep, with the forthcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer both carrying a notable $2000 destination charge despite their rather ordinary asking prices.
Now, without further ado, we present the 10 automakers that charge the most for shipping and handling.
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McLaren is known for its no-nonsense approach to building supercars, specifically due to its penchant for prioritizing function over fashion. However, the British company still builds truly beautiful automobiles as well as posh and powerful grand-tourers such as the 612-hp GT, which comes with a delivery charge of $3195. While that’s only 1.5 percent of its $210,000 base MSRP, it’s almost three times as much as the delivery fee for a new mid-engine Corvette.
Aston Martin: $3086
Aston Martin is ingrained in the public consciousness as James Bond’s ride of choice, but the British automaker also deserves recognition for its portfolio of breathtaking performance vehicles. The new DBX SUV is the most unconventional of these–for obvious reasons–and it also shares a lofty $3086 delivery fee with the Vantage sports car. Both models carry six-figure price tags, but only one can tow and the other is available as a convertible.
Simply put, Rolls-Royce caters to really rich people. Not a single one of its magnificent models costs less than $300,000, and the palatial Phantom sedan can easily surpass the half-million-dollar mark. It–along with the Cullinan SUV and the two-door Dawn/Wraith–carries a destination charge of $2750. For vehicles built with the world’s finest materials and designed to exude extravagance, that’s a relatively small price to pay.
Dest. for other Rolls-Royce models: Ghost $2500.
Bentley boasts an ultra-luxurious image because, well, its portfolio is filled with expensive and extravagant models. The Bentayga SUV has the highest ride height and the lowest starting price, but it also has a sumptuous cabin and mighty powertrains. The Continental GT is equally sporty and elegant, and the Flying Spur sedan epitomizes exclusivity and high-level luxury. In addition to an average base MSRP of $203,558, all three of these distinct Bentleys include a delivery fee of $2725.
Lotus has unfortunately lost some of its luster over the years due to a dwindling lineup and a lack of new and exciting models. While the company looks to liven things up with the upcoming all-electric, 1972-hp Evija hypercar, the aging Evora GT is currently the only thing in showrooms. Along with an entertaining, albeit raw, driving experience, the lone Lotus features a Toyota-sourced supercharged V-6 engine mounted behind the driver. It has a base MSRP of $96,950, but that’s before adding its $2200 destination charge.
Jeep has personified and monetized the adventurous lifestyle thanks to a lineup that effectively promotes that image. However, the new three-row Wagoneer SUV and the more upscale Grand Wagoneer version, in particular, cater to a more affluent audience. While almost every other Jeep includes a $1495 delivery fee, both Wagoneers carry a sizable $2000 surcharge. Unlike most other models on this list, that’s a much higher percentage of their base MSRP–3.4 percent of the regular Wagoneer’s, to be exact.
Fun fact: Acura charges the same $1995 to ship its NSX supercar as it does for the RDX compact crossover. Of course, the latter only applies to the limited-production 2021 RDX PMC Edition that’s hand-built alongside the NSX at the Acura Performance Manufacturing Center (hence PMC acronym) in Ohio. While the mid-engine 573-hp hybrid has a base MSRP of $157,500, the special RDX is priced at $51,000 and will top out at just 360 copies. Another fun fact: Acura charges $970 less to deliver the regular RDX.
Maserati has a rich history of making luxurious and performance-minded machines. While the dramatically styled Quattroporte is instilled with both these hallmarks, it’s not as highly sought after as other full-size luxury sedans. Its $1995 destination charge is also higher than its competitors as well as every other model in Maserati’s lineup, which the company only charges $1495 to deliver. Those who still crave a Quattroporte should at least get their money’s worth with the 580-hp Trofeo variant and its claimed top speed of 203 mph.
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