Sure, if you’ve got the money in your bank account, invest in that rare Bugatti Royale. And an original, mint-condition Ferrari Testarossa isn’t a bad way to watch your money grow, either. But for the average automotive buyer, the economic realities are significantly less positive: the moment you drive off the dealer lot you’re likely to start losing a significant chunk of your investment.
According to a AAA study, you’ll lose nearly $4,000 a year on depreciation with the average vehicle, much of that weighted to the first year after purchase. A separate study by Consumer Reports projects depreciation will account for 46% of the money you’ll spend over the first five years. But the folks at NADAguides stress that not all models lose their value equally. Some, in fact, barely depreciate at all during the first year.
Perhaps surprising to some, the current model most likely to hold its value is the 2011 Dodge Challenger. Mopar’s big muscle car is expected to lose just 8% of its value after 12 months of ownership, according to the NADAguides Car Buyers Market Report, which is comprised by the National Automobile Dealers Association.