KBB.com study: Luxury vehicles more affordable now than in 2011

By KBB.com Editors on September 12, 2012 2:06 PM

Although sticker shock is hardly a thing of the past, the latest data compiled by KBB.com's Automotive Insights division has found it's now become a bit less daunting. During the course of the past several months, the values of both new and used vehicles have undergone a modest but steady decline as the economy struggles to move into a meaningful recovery mode. However, the change has been most pronounced in the luxury arena.

While the average affordability level of all 2012 new vehicles improved by 5.2 percent compared to this time a year ago, those in the premium segment experienced an even more pronounced 7-10 percent adjustment. In more tangible terms, the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price on new luxury vehicles has remained relatively stable during recent months, but it declined more than $600 on a year-over-year basis, handily surpassing the $450 average market drop. Beyond that dollar differential, a number of these primo players currently boast very attractive manufacturer lease deals that further enhance their bottom-line appeal.

On the flip side, because luxury vehicles also tend to depreciate more rapidly, buyers willing to consider a suitable late-model variant are in a position to reap even greater relative savings on their acquisitions. That value differential becomes particularly significant as the vehicle crosses its 3-year threshold. KBB.com research data found that a typical 2009 luxury car will retain just 57 percent of its original Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) compared to a 70-percent index figure for the entire population of same-age vehicles.

Given the buyer-friendly nature of today's market environment, anyone considering purchasing or leasing a luxury vehicle - new or used - should find this an excellent time to make a great deal.