HIGH-end Bi-xenon or LED headlamps are beginning to make a positive impact on residual values.
Not only is the sweep of the headlamp area so impressive, but the appearance of the lamps often makes a dramatic change to the appearance of the car.
In some cases, OEMs have launched a new model with the LED daytime running light signature across all trim levels: without it the car can look so ordinary and they can achieve an extra uplift in starting residual value that is set by the industry.
Unfortunately, there is no fixed RV uplift that can be applied since there are many factors to consider, such as the type of unit and how the unit affects the aesthetic appearance of the vehicle.
Such headlamps units usually come in at a certain trim level and in some cases, depending on what the trim level has, the RV uplift for that trim can make it the most attractive when it comes to rentals.
In such cases it would make sense for leasing companies to encourage customers into these vehicles.
However, there is a downside to the RV upside: replacement of damaged headlamp units. In some cases the cost to replace a headlamp unit, combining laser and LED technology, can run into thousands of pounds.
So while such detail would not affect SMR calculations made by the leasing company to calculate the whole-life costs for the vehicle, it will be a cost implication for those companies and fleets running such vehicles.
Further down the lifecycle, in the used car market, it may result in cars being being written off for minor front end collisions, due to the costs involved in replacing a couple of headlamps and a front bumper. Or failure to properly maintain a vehicle.
But this is not necessarily a headline issue at the moment as the majority of used cars do not currently have this technology fitted. But I can see it becoming more of a problem for the used car consumer as more enter the used market.
But, in the meantime, if you have not driven a car with the latest generation of headlights I suggest you do: when you jump back into a car with standard halogen headlamps, you will find the difference startling. With clearly positive safety implications.
Along with the residual value uplift.