The Future is Bright

Andy Cutler

02 Nov 2017, Blog Post

When you have driven a car with the latest generation of headlights and then jump back into a car with standard halogen headlamps, the difference is quite startling.  They light up so much more of the road and in some cases they use clever technology that adjusts the beam to fit with the conditions, road type and also to avoid glare to oncoming traffic, whilst still maintaining a high beam elsewhere. 

Clearly this can greatly enhance safety, but another positive factor is that the top end Bi-xenon or LED headlamps will very often make a dramatic change to the appearance of the car, which can increase the residual value compared to a model with standard headlamps. In some instances manufacturers have launched a new model with the LED daytime running light signature, across all trim levels, as the car can look so ordinary without it and they now realise that they can achieve an extra uplift in starting residual value that is set by the industry.

We all make our car buying decisions in different ways.  Whether it be a brand new car for company use or a used car that you will be sinking your own money into. Some will look at how a car drives, others focus on reliability, but one of the very first decisions most people make, is how the car looks.  If the car looks so much better because the manufacturer has put the LED lighting signature on the vehicle, then it is more likely to make a good initial impression.

However, there is one downside to choosing these headlamps.  That is the cost of replacing damaged units. In some cases the cost to replace a headlamp can run into thousands of pounds.  The full LED headlamps and Laser headlamps that are available can cost a small fortune.  Whilst these are currently rarer and are often only standard on more expensive premium vehicles, there is a growing trend for cars to have xenon or bi-xenon headlamps as standard, and they can cost around £1,000 in some cases to replace, and then there is the labour cost when it comes to fit them.

This is not necessarily a headline issue at the moment as the majority of used cars do not currently have this technology fitted, but it will become more of a problem for the used car consumer as more enter the used market.   It may discourage owners from maintaining their cars properly because of the costs involved to replace these expensive units and could lead to more cars being written off for minor front end collisions, due to the costs involved in replacing a couple of headlamps and a front bumper.  There is no doubt that the latest innovation in headlight technology is a positive step to enhance safety and as long as consumers are aware of the costs involved with replacement, there will be no unwelcome surprises in the future.

About the author

Andy Cutler

Andy CutlerUK Car Editor, Forecast Values

Born and raised in the Birmingham area, Andy started work as an engineer at Land Rover working on prototype vehicles. Andy later moved into the Automotive Leasing and Contract Hire industry, working there for 20 years, before joining Glass’s in 2010.