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.
Close behind is the Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 Manual, which has a projected 10% depreciation rate. Also on the NADAguides Top Recommended Current Buys list are the 2011 GMC Terrain SLE-2, the Toyota Venza I4 AWD, the Acura TL and, rounding out the six picks, the Hyundai Azera Limited, which is expected to lose just 21% of its value over the first year.
“The results of our most recent Car Buyer’s Market Report show a healthy mix from diverse manufacturers across several segments,” noted Troy Snyder, NADAguides’ director of product development.
While the report emphasizes vehicles that hold onto their value, the six Top Picks also had to meet a mix of other criteria, starting with a competitive initial purchase price, as well as incentives and dealer inventory levels.
Studies have found that models that hang onto their initial longest typically have higher owner loyalty rates than those that depreciate more quickly.