Used-car prices soaring, slowing depreciation
Normally, the value of a new car plunges as it's driven out of the dealership by its new owner.
The average value of a 1- to 3-year-old used vehicle has increased from $15,000 in 2008 to more than $23,000 in 2011, an annual average increase of nearly 16%, Kelley analysts said.
They expect used car pricing to remain strong because it will take several years of strong new-car sales to replenish the shortage of used vehicles that is pushing prices up now.
“While depreciation typically affects a vehicle’s value most in the first two years of ownership, it will not be as pronounced as it would have been a few years ago when the used-car supply was still very high,” Said Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book.
“Consumers who plan to sell or trade in a used car soon will likely see their vehicle hold its value well. Alternatively, shoppers in the market for a used car will continue to pay more, making it difficult to buy at a discount,” he said.
-- Jerry Hirsch
Photo: New Ford Explorers await shipping from depot in Brunswick, Ga. Credit: Bloomberg News