Smart shoppers have learned that the price you pay at the dealership is only one of the factors to consider when it comes to your long-term ownership costs. You also have to factor in such detail as insurance, fuel consumption, maintenance and residual values.
The latter is the industry’s fancy way of referring to your trade-in. There can be a huge gap between what two different models are likely to get on the used market – something a new study by CarGurus.com aimed to sort out.
It found that pickup trucks, traditionally designed with durability in mind, are best at holding their value. Chrysler’s Ram 1500 was at the top of the list, followed by the Nissan Titan. In fact, pickups accounted for six of the top 10 models on the residual value list, along with three sport-utility vehicles. At the other end of the spectrum, luxury models such as the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class were among the biggest trade-in value losers.
The only passenger car was the third-ranked Dodge Charger. Significantly, CarGurus’ study showed only one foreign model in the Top 10, the second-ranked Titan.
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The study looked at 577 different models produced during the 2008 to 2012 model-years and put back on the used market in March 2013 and then in March 2014. It found that, on average, the one-year decline in value came to 9.8%. But the worst models on the list lost as much as 18.9%, while the best – in this case, the 2012 Ram 1500, actually gained inflation-adjusted value over that one-year period.
“Luxury cars tend to be loaded up with options, and we found that options do not hold value,” explained Langley Steinert, founder of CarGurus.com. When used car buyers go shopping they don’t care about (fancy) wheels and navigation. It’s about the year and mileage.”
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According to the new study, the models that best held their residual values were:
- 2012 Ram 1500 (3.4%)
- 2012 Nissan Titan (2.2%)
- 2012 Dodge Charger (1%)
- 2012 Ford F-150 (.9%)
- 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (.7%)
- 2012 Jeep Liberty (.5%)
- 2012 Ram 2500 (.2%)
- 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 (.1%)
- 2012 Jeep Wrangler (-.6%)
- 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe (-.8%)
The models that lost the most value were:
- 2012 Chevrolet Equinox (-18.9%)
- 2010 BMW 3 Series (-17.5%)
- 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (-17.4%)
- 2009 Nissan Altima (-16.5%)
- [tie] 2008 Volvo XC90 (-16.3%); 2008 BMW 5 Series (-16.3%); 2009 BMW 5 Series (-16.3%)
- 2009 BMW 3 Series (-16.2%)
- 2009 Audi A-4 (-15.8%)
- 2008 Volkswagen Passat (-15.7%)
- [tie] 2009 Cadillac STS (-15.6%); 2009 BMW X5 (-15.6%)
- 2012 Cadillac SRX (-15.5%)