The destination (or delivery) charge covers the cost of delivering a new vehicle either from the North American factory where it is built or, in the case of imported vehicles, from the port of entry to the dealership. The dealer pays the same destination charge that is listed on the window sticker, and they pass the full cost to the consumer.
Destination charges vary by manufacturer because each one negotiates its own contracts with transportation companies that haul the vehicles to dealers. One manufacturer may charge more or less than another for a similarly sized vehicle simply because of the deal arranged with the car hauler. For example, the destination charge on the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan is $795, and on the Hyundai Elantra, also a compact, it is $775.
The destination charge for a particular vehicle will be uniform throughout the U.S., with a few exceptions. Charges may be higher in Alaska and Hawaii than elsewhere because of their locations, and Subarus sold in the Northeast may have higher destination charges than other areas because of agreements with regional distributors.
In most cases, though, it doesn’t matter whether you buy a Cruze from a dealer that’s a stone’s throw from the Lordstown, Ohio, plant that builds the car or in Death Valley, Calif. — the destination charge is $795. Larger vehicles generally carry higher destination charges because they take up more space on trucks and are heavier. For example, the destination charge on the Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup is $995.
Although destination charges vary by manufacturer and vehicle size, one point to remember is that there is only one legitimate destination charge, the one listed on the federally required window sticker that shows the price of the vehicle, all its options and other information, such as the EPA fuel economy ratings.
You can find new-car destination charges when you build a car at Cars.com here.
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