Getting the most for your money means knowing what your car will be worth when you sell it, not just what it’s worth when you buy it.
If you’re like most car-buyers, you won’t keep your car until the wheels fall off. Instead, you will sell it or trade it in when it still has some useful life remaining. That means you should be concerned about resale value. If you want to keep your overall year-in-year-out transportation costs as low as possible, a vehicle that retains its value well will be your best friend. Over the first five years of new-car ownership, depreciation is a typical car owner’s biggest transportation expense – bigger than the cost of fuel, maintenance or insurance. Depreciation — in basic terms, the flipside of resale value -- can cost you thousands of dollars during the years you own your car. So simply choosing a vehicle that has better resale value than competitive vehicles will be a big treat for your checkbook.
How do you gain reliable information about resale value? Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place. We at Kelley Blue Book have been publishing our Official Residual Value Guide since 1981, so we are industry-acknowledged experts in the art and science of resale value projections. The Guide is a standard relied upon by financial institutions, governmental agencies and the automotive leasing community. Based on the information contained in the Guide, Kelley Blue Book established its annual Best Resale Value Awards in 2003.
The awards recognize automakers’ outstanding achievements in producing vehicles that best retain their value over the first five years (60 months) of new-vehicle ownership. Awards are presented to top vehicles in 22 vehicle categories and to the Overall Top 10 vehicles across all categories. In addition, the luxury and non-luxury brands that demonstrate the best resale value receive coveted Best Brand and Best Luxury Brand awards. Our resale value projections are based on current vehicle data, sales data, market conditions for each vehicle, competition within vehicle segments, expectations of the future economy and the combined experience of Kelley Blue Book’s team of market and pricing analysts. In other words, this data cannot be duplicated, and it can be your ticket to a low-cost ride.
The awards are broken into three groups, as listed below.
Some brands have a reputation for high resale value. Some brands have high resale value because they have a reputation for high resale value. While this seems like faulty logic, quite the contrary is true. Residual value projections are based on, among other things, consumers’ perceptions of long-term vehicle value, so consumers’ feelings about residual value are a key component of strong residual value. But to win the Best Brand and Best Luxury Brand awards, auto manufacturers must not only maintain the reputation of their brands, but also offer great vehicles across their entire model lines and keep production well-matched to demand. If you buy a vehicle from a brand honored by Kelley Blue Book with a Best Resale Value Award you can be confident it will retain its value well.
You might consider the Overall Top 10 Award winners to be the equivalent of the teams that make the playoffs in baseball or football. Some are the award winners in their specific vehicle categories — Compact Car, Compact SUV/Crossover or Mid-Size SUV/Crossover, for instance — but others, though they have excellent resale value projections, are not category winners, yet their high-ranking performance begs to be recognized. You might look at these award-winners as the “wild-card” models, and they deserve to be part of the overall Top 10 because their residual-value performance is among the best 10 of all models in the industry — a playoff-worthy achievement.
It is not helpful to learn that several individual luxury cars have high resale value projections if you’re about to buy a full-size pickup truck. What you want to know is which full-size pickup offers the best residual value projection. That is what the category awards are about. They honor the models that offer the best retained value in each of 22 vehicle categories. From compact car, to luxury utility vehicle, to van and beyond, the Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value category award winners will give you a look at the elite vehicles in retaining value over time.
And now let’s move on to the Best Resale Value Award winners for 2013, starting with the two prestigious Best Brand awards.