Thursday, December 17, 2009

Retrofit Doesn't Equal Original

I received several queries from my reader what are their options if the giant that they are looking at don’t have some of the minimum features I mentioned in this post.

I thought it would be a straight forward job to retrofit the missing features but I was wrong. Yes some of these features can be retrofitted locally but then it wouldn’t be the same like the original. I checked with my regular installer and it seems they are also providing the alternative solution meaning they can’t do the retrofit like those that come originally with the car.

For example if the giant that you are looking at don’t have the front camera, you can retrofit the front camera but then the installer cannot retrofit the front camera button onto the steering wheel for you. They will provide an alternative button somewhere at the dashboard in front of the steering wheel.

Similarly the installer that I frequent doesn’t have the know-how to retrofit the hands-free button onto the steering wheel. Therefore if a buyer wants to retrofit the Bluetooth function into the NFL model, he/she will have to find someone who is familiar with the wiring of the giant to do the retrofit. I have not come across anyone who can do this yet. One of my readers was quoted RM5K just to retrofit the Bluetoth function. I suspect the cost is so high because instead of retrofitting the button the installer is changing the whole steering wheel with one that comes with the button.

Another reader also highlighted that he is worried about the quality of the power door that is retrofitted locally. I don’t have experience on this but I think the worry is genuine. My understanding from my regular installer is that the retrofitting kit is fully imported from Japan. However I am not sure of the quality of the installation.

I have seen quite a lot of earlier batch giant from circa 2002-2003 doesn’t comes with any power doors. Also many dealers would like to entice their buyer with model that have twin power doors. They may retrofit the unit that don’t come the power door at the driver side to make it a twin power door model. Therefore retrofitting power door is a niche market and I believed if the installer has done enough of installation job they will get it right.

I know it is getting harder to find a unit that has all the features that you are looking for and you may be looking at the retrofitting route. As long as you have no issue with the result there are installers who can do the retrofitting job for you.

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