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

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
edited June 2014 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 Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306 the absence of two cars I expected to see - the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Member Posts: 18,385
    "...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.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    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 Member Posts: 2,699
    It looks to me like they have some cars on there that haven't been out for three years.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,722
    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 NHMember Posts: 22,056
    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.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,572
    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 AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    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).

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 Member Posts: 2,699
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Ah, so you think something like "distinctiveness"?

    Which really means "styling" right?
  • hoop1ahoop1a Member 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 Member Posts: 345
    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 Member Posts: 2,699
    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 AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 Member Posts: 2,699
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    47% after 3 years doesn't strike me as so great. :(
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    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.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Kelley is dealer asking price. TMV is based on actual selling prices.

    Then there's supposedly more than one Kelley book out there.

    What is the "Kelley Blue Book" Price?

    In the real world, Miatas would be in the top 3 or 4 on any of these lists.

    Ateixeira/Juice has three buyers lined up for his old one right now.
  • 1stpik1stpik Member Posts: 495
    How can the BMW 1 series be on this list? It's a new model for 2008. No one knows what it'll be worth in a few years.

    And why is the Civic Hybrid on the list, but the Prius isn't? Both those cars are selling for unbelievable used prices right now. Even the discontinued Honda Insight is worth a fortune these days.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,699
    This is one of the reasons why leasing is losing favor with the car companies - predicting lease residuals is a form of gambling.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Do the leasing companies ACTUALLY throw darts at a board to determine residuals??!!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • tatum2tatum2 Member Posts: 7
    The resale has nothing to do with real value. It is all about "Perceived Quality"
    It is hard to change someones mind when they believe a Honda is better
    than say a Chevy. No amount of hard facts will convience them.
    Also you pay more for a Honda to begin with it should be worth
    as a percentage in resale
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think the BMW Series 1 will be a good gamble,however.

    Civics are desirable, as are Miatas, but they are a dime a dozen. The used car market is flooded with them. This HAS to have an effect on resale.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    You'd think so but around here people want $2,000 or more over TMV for a run of the mill Miata. They seem to be getting their price too even on the older, high mileage model ones. Fuel prices popped demand up on them as well.

    There's a '91 in today's Craigslist here with an asking price of $3,500 - more than twice Dealer Retail TMV assuming it has high miles (the ad doesn't say, so I'm assuming over 120k on it). Other ads I've watched for the last couple of years have similar prices, and the one I passed on got sold for crazy money.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    Shoot, I recall Miata Mania when the first models were new. People were paying well over MSRP for them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think that's just anecdotal data. People can "want" whatever they wish for a car, but the TMV is based on what's in the fat middle of the bell curve, not the highs and lows we hear about now and then. Besides all that, it's summer season. Go sell a Miata in a snow storm. :P

    As for a 1991 Miata---ANY decent clean used Japanese car is worth $3,500. What you're seeing there is just the floor price for a decent used economy car in 2008 America.

    Besides, we're talking about 3 year old cars and their resale. The number of used 3 year old Miatas on the market is enormous. There's no "Miata shortage". But a low miles, very clean Prius or MINI will get snatched up a lot faster than a Miata IMO.

    HAVING SAID ALL THAT---the Miata does seem to share some of the characteristics of the cars with highest resale. Only the glut of them keeps them off the list I think.
  • 1stpik1stpik Member Posts: 495
    Mazda killed the spirit of the Miata when they eliminated the pop-up headlights.

    My '94 had a button on the dash that would allow them to "wink" at girls ..... a feature which I found useful on a few occasions.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    I had actually been shopping for the next generation Miata (I liked the wink thing but needed a trunk that could at least hold a guitar). Everyone wanted silly money for them.

    Ended up with a Celica convertible. Wasn't until I parked it next to a Miata that the Celica looked BIG!
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,699
    I wouldn't think a winking Miata would be helpful in any way to a man trying to attract women.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Women like Miatas. I'd imagine a disproportionate share of the used Miata market is shopped by women. ( Men make the mistake of thinking women like their expensive macho cars, but what women may be attracted to is that they are expensive cars IMO. :P )

    Women like MINIS too, and small SUVs right now. Female power is definitely out there in the resale market.
  • lazzinarolazzinaro Member Posts: 5
    hey lemmer,...agree with most of your list[just having fun as a new member looking at old postings that interest me]...have to take exception to the 'vette listing though,...much as i love the corvette,...everything i've ever seen,...and researched,...unfortunately shows this cars value PLUMMETS once you take it off the lot, much so,...that even a 70000$ zo6 is worth about a third after 3 years,...don't quite know why,...they ARE building them better then they used to,...and now with gm in trouble[more then trouble, they're BANKTRUPT!],...why are the porsche 911's resideduals so good after 3 years[still at almost 2/3's of value?]...just perceived better quallity is all...this car ,as well as the porsche marque in general, should be on that list,...try buying a good condition 911,...say a 2007 s coupe, for less than 55000-60000 or so, and you'll be laughed off the lot!...i think people just perceive these cars to be a better built product, rightly or wrongly...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The reason for low Corvette resale (relatively speaking) is that they made a TON OF THEM every year. There are thousands for sale every day all over the country, and in every podunk town you can name, probably.

    It's just a supply and demand equation that tilts against excessive supply.

    As for "quality", that, too is relative, although they joke for *older* Corvettes used to be that they "aged in dog years".
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    The recent recalls for roofs flying off doesn't exactly scream "Quality"...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well let's put it in perspective. You are getting near-Ferrari performance for 1/2 the price.

    So they have to skimp on something to get that price point---in the Vette's case, it's always been interior fitments, fit and finish on the exterior, and some off-the shelf GM hardware to save bucks.

    Still a remarkable car for the money, especially for the 2nd and 3rd owners. But it is, after all, a Chevrolet, not an Aston Martin.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Meh, I've driven Vettes before and their performance can be described IMO as "squirmy". Too much power and not enough control. I would trust a Ferrari or an Aston at the limits, I wouldn't feel safe in a Vette doing the same thing. Feels too fragile.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I have heard that from hi-performance drivers but I've never pushed one that hard. But judging from all the heavily damaged Dodge Vipers I see advertised in Hemmings, I would suspect that the car is beyond the skill of most owners.
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    The most critical component is a high powered car (indeed any car) is the nut behind the wheel! :)

    Even a Corvette, which might be more squirmy at the limit compared to a Ferrari, will still have limits that far exceed the ability of most drivers that it is a moot point, I think.

    A good analogy would be drivers that argue that a jet fighter that pulls 9.5G is better at the limit than another one pulling 9G, when people not trained to be fighter pilots would all black out at 6G.

    Me personally, I'd be happy with either one! :)
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Oh trust me, I've never even come close to explorign the limits of the vettes I drove, but what I did find out the hard way was it was tail-happy. I remember punching one on the highway and doing a lane change at the same time and the felt the rear end try to side step on me. Scared the bejeezus out of me. Same thing exiting a road, too much power, back end wanted to leave before the front... On top of that, the seating position is terrible (sitting on the floor basically), rear visibility was atrocious and the thing felt like navigation a canoe, both of them.

    Now, I've never had the pleasure or displeasure of driving a Ferrari, Lambo or Aston so maybe that's just the going rate for long slung road rockets. :P but I will never own a modern Vette no matter how much of a bargain they are. I like cars that I can ring out 100% of their potential instead of feeling like I can use 60% only before I get into trouble. :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    AT least a Corvette has the advantage of being a perfectly comfortable, and dare we say, even economical (!!) everyday driver. But a Viper owner often tires of the car if it's not being tracked. It beats you up.

    Judging from the damage photos I see, I suspect what happens on a high powered RWD car without VSC is that someone charges too hard into a turn, panics, let's off the gas, and then you are rear-end-first into a tree.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    the thing felt like navigation a canoe, both of them.

    In North America, that would be called a kayak. No visibility and you're sitting on the floor.

    When I need a better look in my open canoe, I just stand up. :shades:

    I'm still scratching my head over the VW resale values.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaMember Posts: 5,194
    I'm still scratching my head over the VW resale values.

    Just as the Corvette is a cheap interior with good looks, handling, and power (a value proposition vs. Ferarri), VW is a less reliable vehicle with poor service experience that has Audi or Benz-like interior and European handling. Also a value proposition. :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah but VWs business model is slipping. A bad reliability rep will eventually give the advantage to your competitors.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaMember Posts: 5,194
    Yeah but VWs business model is slipping. A bad reliability rep will eventually give the advantage to your competitors.

    VWs sales are way down from 10 years ago. I think the bad rep is out there. :P
    The people buying are those who love the cars so much they are willing to put up with the repair issues.

    Just like those with Corvettes are willing to put up with the junky interior for the good looks and high power.

    My theory is that a vehicle doesn't have to be perfect at everything to sell well. It just has to be really good at some thing. If you're not great at at least one thing you are toast:

    1 - Looks
    2 - Refinement
    3 - Power (less important since most vehicles now have this in spades)
    4 - Interior quality
    5 - Utility
    6 - Cost
    7 - Reliability
    8 - Handling

    So Toyota is usually great in #2,7; poorest in #1,8, decent in others.
    Honda is like Toyota - great in #7; a little less #2 but more #8.
    VW is great in #4, #8, usually good in #1, 2, poorest in #7
    Whereas much (not all) of GM vehicles were decent to very good in #6, but lousy in #s 2,4,7,8. Chrysler (at least their cars) don't excel in much of anything.

    So there is your low resale - the the brands don't excel or stand for anything great.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    There was a time maybe 20 years ago when GM struck out on all 8---now that's not easy to accomplish!

    VW made its mark by marketing to young drivers---they did a great job of that.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Thankfully not so much lately, but for a while VW had some of the strangest, most tapped commercials on the tube. I especially remember the one with the 2 stoners hanging around a tree waiting for their GTi to fall out because one of them took the corner too fast :confuse:

    Couple that with odd product targets (Phaeton anyone?) and I seriously believe VW product development and marketing group meetings include some sort of drug parapernalia being passed around...
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    I dunno. As far as I'm concerned, GM is tops in categories 1, 3, 6, and 7. The Chrysler vehicles in which I'd be interested would definitely top 3 and 6. Agree with you on the others. VWs do have very nice interiors. Too bad you can't combine the interior of a Jetta GLI with the exterior of a Cobalt coupe. You'd have one beautiful little ride.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Ah, you know GM---too little too late.
This discussion has been closed.