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Top Ten Resale Values -- What's Their Secret?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
edited June 7 in MINI
Forbes Magazine lists the current Top Ten Resale Values--that is, cars/trucks that will retain about 60% of their resale value after 3 years.

I'm wondering:

1. What characteristics do these cars share?

2. Why is there only ONE domestic car on the list?

The Top Ten

1. Mini Cooper
2. Infiniti G37 Coupe
3. BMW 1 Series
4. Jeep Wrangler
5. WV R 32
6. Honda CR-V
7. Scion xB
8. Honda Civic Hybrid
9. Nissan Rogue
10. VW Beetle (tie)
10 Audi S5 (tie)




  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120 the absence of two cars I expected to see - the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,218
    "...What characteristics do these cars share?..."

    I don't think they all share the same characteristics. The first 3 must share the characteristic of performance but the Scion, Civic, Rouge and others like them attract people who like economy. Toss in reliability and utility and your cover all of them.

    "...Why is there only one domestic..."

    My question is why are there any domestics at all? The way the popular press beats up on American cars (Jeep in particular) I can't imagine how they could hold their value.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    1. What characteristics do these cars share?

    Scarcity may be one reason. I have been looking for a used 2006 VW Beetle diesel for over a year on Craigslist or the Trader. They are too high mileage or selling for as much as when they were new. Jeep Wrangler has probably been one of the best vehicles for holding its value since it was introduced. The biggest surprise to me is NO Prius. Is this list based on auction prices?
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    It looks to me like they have some cars on there that haven't been out for three years.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    I noticed that too, some of those aren't nearly 3 years old yet.

    Some of those cars are pretty trendy, that should do it - no other reason why a Beetle should have any resale. The couple people I know who have owned them did not have faultless experiences, and they do not have the cars anymore. I guess a lot of it is image based - an affordable car with seen as cool or fun will hold some value.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    I think what most of them have in common is that they appeal to specific niches of the buying public (especiallyt the Mini and the Wrangler) and aren't produced in truly mass numbers like the CamCord.

    I question the inclusion of the Nissan Rogue, it hasn't been out that long and I suspect that the Honda CR-V and Element would appeal to the same drivers and hold up better on resale.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    Yeah, that's the one thing I've noticed, is that they're all relatively nich-ey markets, although I dunno if I'd really consider the CR-V market to be such a niche anymore.

    Most of these cars are also built in small enough numbers that supply is simply not keeping up with demand. I'm surprised the Beetle is still up there, though. Didn't that act get played out about 7-8 years ago? And the Wrangler, well that's not a niche, that's a cult!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    projected resale values? Some of these models haven't been around 3 years. And as we all know from the leasing meltdown this year, PROJECTED resale values have a way of being totally inaccurate.

    Given that, I would add that all these models except CRV are WELL under 100K sales per year, some of them just a few thousand annually, which always aids resale in a desirable car with good reliability (or a cutesy niche car like the Beetle that people like to buy because it makes them smile).

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    This list was compiled from a very large leasing database, is my understanding--so in other words, the money the leasing companies either got, or plan to get, upon resale.

    Supply and demand must be a factor here, and would explain why Accord and Camry are not on the list.

    So we know people must WANT them (basic rule of economics that price is driven by a supply and demand formula) but I'm still puzzled as to WHY these cars in particular?

    Of course, keep in mind that "Top Ten" lists don't show #11, which might be a domestic car or a very common car selling at just below the cut-off point.

    But I'm intrigued as to what "secret" these cars have?

    This is important, because high resale value allows an automaker to maintain high MSRP on newer models.


  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    With a couple of exceptions, the common theme is that they seem to offer an experience that can't be replicated by other new cars. What else is really similar to a Jeep Wrangler or a Mini Cooper?

    On a daily commute an Acura TL isn't greatly different than a Hyundai Sonata (chosen completely arbitrarily so hold your objections).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Ah, so you think something like "distinctiveness"?

    Which really means "styling" right?


  • hoop1ahoop1a Posts: 6
    Scarcity is obviously the main reason with several of these, especially the new ones. How many used cars still in their first model year can there be. They can't have had very many miles yet either.

    I also wonder about gas mileage; lots of people are trading down to smaller cars, so the BMW 1 series and Mini are probably getting a lot of people who were driving bigger sports/luxury coupes and sedans. The CR-V and Rogue are getting soccer moms trading down from gas guzzling bigger SUVs.

    We don't drive much, so gas mileage doesn't matter, but I am thinking about the impact on resale.
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 326
    CR-Vs have always been pretty popular on the used end. Same goes for the Mini. I guess they are even more popular now that gas price have gone up. Sort of surprised about the Rogue because I reallyl don't like the looks of it. Then again, I bet there are tons of people looking for a small SUV and it is the second best one out there after the CR-V.

    As far a diesel Beetle, my take is that people will pay crazy money for a diesel VW because it is sort of a status car these days.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    gives these as their top ten after four years:


    Not much overlap there. They have VW as their overall best brand for resale.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Do you know if that is a projection for 2012, or if it is actual resale values today for MY 2004 cars?

    Edit...wait, there was no '04 G37, nor was there an EOS, right? So these are also projections. Far from infallilble, I would think. It is curious to see the overlap between the two lists, yes.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Possible differences:

    Kelley is based on dealer reports on their selling prices isn't it, I mean, that the dealer's submit?

    I can't personally see that as more reliable than a printout from an auction company selling off-lease cars. Possibly less so.


  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Well, they haven't sold three year old versions of several of those cars.

    The other thing with both lists is where do they start from. MSRP? Invoice? Invoice after rebates? Average selling price? That will make a huge difference.

    All the VWs kind of throw me off. Maybe it is just regional, but they don't seem to hold their value particularly well here. They are average or a little below.

    Just for fun, I'll throw in Edmunds list of the 10 cars with the best resale value:

    2008 Mini Cooper Clubman — 56.4%
    2008 Mini Cooper — 53.1%
    2008 BMW M3 — 52.8%
    2008 Lexus IS F — 49.6%
    2008 Scion xB — 49.2%
    2008 Volkswagen R32 — 49.0%
    2008 Infiniti G37 — 47.2%
    2008 Chevrolet Corvette — 47.1%
    2008 BMW 1 Series — 47.0%
    2008 Volkswagen Eos — 47.0%
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    47% after 3 years doesn't strike me as so great. :(


  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    is why Honda owners and dealers treat their used cars like they are gold-plated, and not ONE Honda is on any of these lists except the CRV on that very first one.

    Just go out and try and find ANY Honda Civic for 47% of its original price after three years and typical miles. I defy you to do that. The only ones selling that cheap are the ones without A/C, few and far between and just about impossible to resell here in California.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    I wonder about that. I have never had the least trouble selling a well used Honda. When I was selling my 87 Nissan Maxima wagon years ago I was stunned at how much less I got in the way of response. I would have put that Maxima up against anything comparative from Honda but perception is everything I guess.

    That is a funny list. I do think the fact that so many are cars with no competition is the common thread.

    I can't imagine VWs being that high on resale. I'd need a heck of a warranty to ever think about such a thing.
This discussion has been closed.