Highest Retained Value

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According to KBB, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class retained 99% of its original MRSP at wholesale auctions, topping the list for vehicle retained values for 2019 model year vehicles. PHOTO Daimler AG

KBB’s top 10 vehicles from the 2019 model year may surprise you.

In ordinary times (if you can remember those), which vehicles retain their value in the marketplace, or were expected to retain their value in the future, was always of great interest to the industry.

This value performance means a great deal to a consumer trading in their current vehicle, and the salesperson trying to put that deal together.

A vehicle’s retained value also carries great weight with those in the leasing industry when it comes to forecasting what a car will be worth (its’ residual value) 36 or 48 months from now.

With all the market volatility at present, I thought it would be interesting to look at 2019 model year vehicles and see how that class is doing four years after graduation.

Sharply up

Across all the 350 models we at Kelley Blue Book Canada (KBB) track, the retained value at wholesale auction after four years is now at 73% for the 2019 model year, which is sharply up on what we would typically expect to see in the market.

A supply shortage is driving this dramatic uptick in prices in both the new and used vehicle markets.

In fact, since January of 2019, our own KBB price index (which looks at 1- to 20-year-old vehicles) has risen by 53% to the record high levels it remains at today.

Setting aside market segments for a moment, and just having a good old-fashioned, value-based drag race, here are the top ten finishers for 2019 model year retained value.

The % number is what percentage of their original MSPR do they retain at wholesale auction:

  1. Mercedes-Benz G-Class 99%
  2. Dodge Challenger 88%
  3. Chevrolet Camaro 86%
  4. Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD 85%
  5. Toyota Tundra 84%
  6. Ford Mustang 83%
  7. Dodge Charger 83%
  8. Honda Ridgeline 82%
  9. GMC Sierra 1500 82%
  10. Toyota Tacoma 82%

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Having this fashionista-approved, military-inspired, go-anywhere vehicle at number one does not surprise me one bit.

Currently, a four-year-old version of this vehicle is often selling at wholesale auction for very, very close to what it sold for new at MSRP.

Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Dodge Charger

Do you see some common elements on our list?

Challenger, Camaro, Mustang and Charger all show up on our list.

They are vehicles available in trims from rental-car mundane up to muscle car performance levels that will easily tear up the tarmac—and your license! In more ordinary trims, they offered excellent value and similar styling to the peak performance models without the financial outlay at purchase or the pumps.

All four are desirable vehicles which leads to them remaining popular in the used market.

Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD and GMC Sierra 1500

There had to be trucks on this list from the Detroit 3. Canada seemingly has no end of love for the pick-up truck.

The General Motors trucks were redesigned for the 2019 model year in the light-duty format, and the used market has embraced the significant change in design.

Toyota Tundra and Tacoma

These Toyota truck siblings have well-deserved reputations for bulletproof reliability, durability and overall quality.

For years, owners have been pleasantly surprised by what they can get in the resale market, even for higher mileage examples.

I would be surprised if there were not a Toyota pick-up on this list a decade from now.

Honda Ridgeline

The presence of this Honda truck, which shares its unibody roots with some other large Honda products like the Odyssey minivan, I expect, is a bit of a surprise.

However, Honda did not make many of these, making them a bit rarer than many vehicles.

It also has the unique appearance of offering pickup truck utility, Honda quality and a ride that is more like a passenger car/SUV than a body-on-frame truck.

The people have spoken, and this vehicle made it to our top ten tallies.

Brands retain different values, too

You may be curious how different brands fare in a similar contest.

When we look at the brands in the marketplace, Porsche is the checkered flag winner for the luxury segment and GMC for the mass-market brands.

Porsche is well known for typically not producing enough examples of a model, thus keeping supply below demand.

When it comes to GMC, well the love Canadians have for the product, along with the opportunity to export used vehicles to the U.S., has kept values strong.

Many variables

What makes one vehicle perform better than another when it comes to retaining its value?

As you might expect, it is not just one factor but a combination of many variables.

Most critical is that consumers must like the vehicle­­—the lasting market demand won’t be there without the consumer’s love.

The manufacturer also can’t build too many of them each year.

And of the ones they do make, not offering significant purchase incentives helps the future value.

In particular, cash incentives can’t be part of the plan.

The vehicle must also be a good value for what you get product and content-wise.

Otherwise, the used market will make that price adjustment a few years down the road.

Given the current disruption in our marketplace, some of the numbers and the standout performers have changed, but the fundamentals of what makes a good vehicle in the used market remain.

Brian Murphy is Managing Director, Kelley Blue Book & Data Solutions, Cox Automotive Canada and Brazil. You can reach him at [email protected].

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