Cars To Be the Second Owner Of
being second in line is the best place to be.
letting someone else buy you a discount on a great new car. He gets
it first but he also gets to pay full mark-up as well
as absorbs the depreciation in value that occurs during the first
few months of a new cars life.
If you check
into it, youll discover that some models are particularly
exceptional buys the second time around largely because of
the 20-30 percent (or more) difference in their retail value from
showroom new to just a year or two old.
For the most
part, there is nothing wrong with these cars in terms of function
or reliability. Some simply had inflated prices when new due to
being the latest thing a case in point being
the Chrysler PT Cruiser. When it first appeared, some dealers were
getting $25k or more for cars with an MSRP of $17,000 simply because
it was hot and new. In recent years, the
PT now very much passe sold for less than sticker
new and slightly used ones could be had for fire-sale prices.
say a manufacturer launches a car with high expectations
and a high MSRP but it doesnt do as well as hoped for
one reason or another. An excellent example is the Volkswagen Phaeton
an uber luxury sedan with a base price of $66,950 that could
go as high as $100,000 when equipped with every available option.
The Phaeton was VWs first foray into the very high-end luxury
segment but as nice a car as the Phaeton was, people werent
lining up to pay Mercedes or BMW money for a Volkswagen. VW just
doesnt have the name recognition as a premium brand on par
with the established luxury brands. As a result, one could buy a
two-year-old Phaeton for half or less the original sticker.
Here are some
other cars that are steals the second time around:
A new, much-updated
version of Toyotas entry-level subcompact sedan/hatchback
just came out this year (2012) which means the previous version
which was a little homely and more obviously an economy car
is now a much better deal. Its also a great A to B
commuter that is simple, known to be reliable and capable of 40
MPG on the highway. The 12 Yaris starts at $14,115 but you
should be able to nab 2-3 year old Yaris for around $9k or so. The
car was the same from 2007 to 2011, so the older the better, as
far as price goes. Current retail prices on the 2007s are in the
$6-$7k range half the cost of the base price of the 2012
Nissan Versa 1.6
reason, Nissan decided to stop making the tall roof
version of the Versa 1.6 sedan this year. Now, the low-cost version
of the Versa is only sold as a conventional compact sedan. To get
the much more roomy (especially back seat) version of the Versa,
youve got to buy the Versa 1.8 which starts at $14,480
vs. $10,990 for the Versa 1.6 sedan. But if you go back just a year
or two, you can get the tall roof bodystyle and the
more economical 1.6 liter engine in the same package for
a lot less money. How much less? According to current used car retail
value guides, 2010 model Versa 1.6s are selling for around $7,800.
Thats barely two years old and about half the price
of a new Versa 1.8 tall box.
VW Eos convertible
Like the Phaeton
ultra-luxury sedan of the early 2000s, the Eos over-reached a bit.
It is very expensive new. The 2012 version of this retractable
hardtop 2-plus-2 is $34,350 well into BMW/Audi/Lexus territory.
But as nice a car as the Eos is, its still a VW. Not that
theres anything wrong with that. It just means theyre
not selling very well and when they do, they depreciate rapidly.
Current used car guides have the first-year 07s pulling in
only about $14k and barely three-year-old 2009s going for
about $20k a $14k discount over the base price of a new (and
basically the same) 2012 Eos.
* 2011 Saab
a little dicey but could be a great deal. Saab is now out of business
but just before the curtain fell, it launched an all-new version
of the 9-3. It is arguably the best 9-3 Saab ever made, too. Unfortunately
for Saab it was too little, too late. But this might be fortunate
for you. The 9-3?s turbocharged 2.0 liter engine is a GM-sourced
engine (GM owned Saab until just before The End) identical to the
2.0 turbo engine used in a number of current GM cars, such as the
Buick Regal GS. So, it should not be difficult finding basic service
parts for the engine. But be aware that other parts might be harder
to find especially trim pieces. The key factor here is that
the market value of Saabs is plummeting to the ocean floor just
like the Titanic did 100 years ago. A new 9-3 that stickered for
almost $40k last year can probably be acquired today for $30k or
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[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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