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A Bizarre Truth About the Vehicle You're Driving

It might be worth more now than what you paid for it new
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2021 12:20 PM CDT
Updated Jul 24, 2021 4:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – "It just seems like we're in fantasy land." So declares New England auto dealer Abel Toll to the Wall Street Journal. He's referring to his own industry at the moment, which is seeing strange things happen on the sales floor for a variety of reasons. (A worldwide shortage of computer chips, which is crimping auto production, is a big one.) Coverage:

  • Weirdness: It's quite possible that the vehicle you are currently driving is worth more than what you paid for it, reports the Journal. The story begins with the example of a Chevy Silverado owner who sold his year-old truck for $3,000 more than he originally paid. Prices for used cars and trucks rose 10.5% in June, continuing this year's trend.

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  • Is that possible? This nugget also is hard to fathom: The gap between the cost of a used vehicle and the selling price of the same model brand-new is disappearing. The average difference in cost between a year-old vehicle and the new-model price is a scant $80, down from the usual gap of about $5,000, according to industry group JD Power.
  • 16 examples: The site iSeeCars has a list of 16 vehicles that now cost more used than new. Leading the list is the Kia Telluride, selling for $3,564 (or 8.1%) more used than new; the GMC Sierra 1500 ($3,466); the Toyota Tacoma ($1,955); the Mercedes-Benz G-Glass ($7,447); and the Toyota RAV4Hybrid ($1,357).
  • Explanation: That people are paying for a used car on the lot rather than wait for a new one of the same model comes down to old-fashioned supply and demand, per Jalopnik. "If you’re looking to buy a specific, brand new car, there’s a good chance you’ll end up facing delays or will have to scour dealerships in your state trying to find the specific model you’re looking for," writes Elizabeth Blackstock. "For some people, paying that extra money is worth not having to wait."
  • Even older ones: Cars and trucks with lots of miles on them also are experiencing the weirdness. The average used vehicle with between 100,000 and 110,000 miles was worth an average of $12,700 last summer, notes CNN. This summer: $16,500, a jump of about 30%.
(Read more auto sales stories.)

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