Used Cars That Sell For More Than New Ones

Used Cars That Sell For More Than New Ones

Perhaps with the exception of collectable vintage Porsches and Ferraris, cars and trucks are by nature depreciating assets. That means a new car can be expected to lose a hefty chunk of its original value virtually from the moment it’s driven off a dealer’s lot. Typically, a new vehicles loses around 20 percent of its original value within the first year of ownership and perhaps as much as 60 percent after five years on the road.

But as you may have noticed, these are not typical times.

A widespread shortage of new vehicles, fueled largely by ongoing semiconductor-supply-chain issues, has sent a record number of buyers to the pre-owned market where they often stand a better chance of finding a model of their choice. The ongoing demand has sent prices skyrocketing. The average used car cost around $28,000 at the end of 2021, which is reportedly 28 percent more than at the same point a year earlier and a staggering 42 percent higher than it was at the end of pre-pandemic 2019.

In fact, pre-owned vehicle prices have gotten so far out of control, that some one-year-old cars and SUVs are commanding higher transaction prices than their brand new equivalents. That’s according to the car-search engine iSeeCars.com, which compiled a list of 15 “lightly used” one-year-old cars, trucks, and SUVs that currently sell for more than their brand-new equivalents, based on 1.5 million new and used-vehicle transactions during 2021. We’re featuring the list below, noting the percentages and dollar amounts each commands in excess of their brand-new counterparts. 

“While choosing a lightly-used car has traditionally been a cost-saving measure for car shoppers, that is no longer true in today’s market as the effects of plant shutdowns and resulting pent-up demand continue,” says iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. 

iSeeCars’ list of the most overvalued used vehicles runs the gamut of types and price points, ranging from inexpensive subcompact autos to the posh and powerful Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV that beats all comers in this regard. A year-old G-Class goes, on average, for a whopping 35.6 percent markup (a not inconsequential $62,705) over a brand new one that starts at well into six figures. 

“The Mercedes-Benz G-Class opulent off-roader is a status symbol that had record sales numbers in 2021,” Brauer explains. “Its success led to a shortage of new versions, forcing dealers to halt orders in January and leading well-funded buyers to the used car marketplace.”

Second on the list is the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette sports car, for which buyers are paying just over 20 percent more than its new-vehicle list price. This is again a case of consumer demand far outstripping the rate at which Chevy can build them. Dealers are reportedly sitting on a backlog of orders for the 2022 model year, with pre-orders piling up for the higher-performance Z06 variant coming for 2023.

If you’re looking for any kind of deal in today’s challenging market, you may want to avoid any of the over-valued vehicles cited here and instead look for other models, perhaps older ones that aren’t in as strong a demand and command less cash. Keep in mind that whatever goes up must come down, and that includes used car prices. Once the industry’s inventory issues are solved and both new- and used-car prices stabilize, if you paid too much up front you could be holding onto a used car that rapidly undergoes a precipitous drop in value.

15 “Lightly Used” Cars That Are More Expensive Than New Models

  1. Mercedes-Benz G-Class: +35.6% (+$62,705)
  2. Chevrolet Corvette: +20.2% (+$16,645)
  3. Tesla Model 3: +17.8% (+$8,300)
  4. Ford Bronco Sport: +16.4% (+$5,766)
  5. Chevrolet Trailblazer: +15.6% (+$4,270)
  6. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: +14.8% (+$5,298)
  7. Chevrolet Suburban: +12.9% +($9,106)
  8. Toyota Tacoma: +12.2%,(+$4,530)
  9. Toyota C-HR: +12.2 (+:$3,230)
  10. Kia Telluride: +12.1% (+$5,552)
  11. Kia Rio: +11.7% (+$2,090)
  12. Subaru Crosstrek: +11.7% (+$3,524)
  13. GMC Yukon: +11.3% (+$8,258)
  14. Toyota Sienna: +11.2% (+$5,074)
  15. Hyundai Accent: +11.2% +($2,010)

Average: +1.3% (+$553). Source: iSeeCars.com. You can read the full report here.