Used cars cost more than new ones? Here’s what’s going on, and where to find the bargains.

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The age-outdated information that acquiring a used vehicle is the thriftiest way to roll has absent the way of chrome bumpers and fins, at least for now.

As new autos have grow to be scarce simply because of source chain problems and microchip shortages — and now the war in Ukraine, which creates a substantial element of the wiring harnesses used in every car or truck — shoppers have been pressured to locate their preferred cars in the utilised vehicle market. This has pushed up charges to the issue that a “lightly used” auto is now 1.3%, or $533, a lot more expensive than its new auto counterpart, according to a February study by motor vehicle research motor website iSeeCars.

And that is just the ordinary.

Verify out: VW’s new electric microbus is retro exterior, fashionable inside. When can you get just one?

Employed vs. new

A standard utilised, 12 months-previous Mercedes-Benz G-Class luxurious SUV is nearly 36% a lot more than new, commanding a staggering $62,705 quality over the manufacturer’s advised retail rate, according to iSeeCars’ investigation of 1.5 million revenue in January. Obtaining a used Chevrolet Corvette will expense you $16,645, or 20%, more than a new just one. Waitlists at new-auto dealerships for the most sought-following versions extend perfectly into 2023.

A 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class: Some purchasers are paying much more than $62,000 earlier mentioned the $131,750 sticker price tag.


Mercedes-Benz

Very well-off potential buyers — or these who simply require a vehicle right now — are finding their solutions on the applied-automobile tons. Fetching leading dollar are two extremes: costly, gasoline-guzzling SUVs and extra cost-effective little cars and trucks and hybrids, states iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer.

“Even functional and finances-minded individuals are remaining pressured to shell out additional for their vehicles,” he suggests.

Gas prices above $4 feel to be transforming the math several prospective buyers are accomplishing as very well. For case in point, the humble Hyundai Accent
HYMTF,
+.56%
and the Kia Rio
000270,
-.13%,
compacts boasting very good fuel economy to offset present-day large gas selling prices, price in excess of $2,000 far more as made use of automobiles than purchasing them model new, iSeeCars suggests. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid crossover, sought for its 40 mpg EPA ranking, generally involves an additional $5,298 to acquire it utilised.

Semiconductor shortages “forced the automakers to prioritize creating larger automobiles, this sort of as large SUVs or vehicles, that are far extra worthwhile,” states Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Autonomy, which features electrical vehicles beneath a subscription payment plan. “This, in transform, induced an even much larger value raise for gasoline-successful utilised vehicles, EVs and hybrids.”

At the conclusion of last yr, a used Tesla Design Y
TSLA,
-3.66%
value $67,944, though purchasing it new would normally set you back only $63,242, in accordance to Autonomy facts. Throughout 2021, the Design Y appreciated by $10,393 in just 1 calendar year, outperforming the normal rise in benefit of other luxury SUVs of $7,088.

It is worthy of noting that the increase in resale values for electric powered vehicles is a key element in a leasing deal, known as the “residual value.” The bigger the residual price, the lower the every month payments, making leasing a lot more beautiful, Toprak suggests.

Really do not skip: Here’s when you can appear ahead to employed auto price ranges last but not least likely down

So exactly where are the ‘bargains’?

Not all utilised vehicles have seen crazy selling price will increase, according to Brauer. The iSeeCars study also detailed the top 15 styles that had been however additional high-priced new than utilised.

Outgoing versions of redesigned vehicles this sort of as Volkswagen GTI
VWAGY,
-2.41%
and Acura MDX built the record, as well as some vehicles that have not bought nicely even in past several years. Even so, selling prices are up across the board.

“Used car or truck consumers can however help you save money purchasing a flippantly utilised automobile as opposed to a new auto,” he suggests. “But the discounts are 25% to 30% what they would typically be.”

ISeeCars found that shoppers could save about $9,500 when paying for a used 1- or 2-12 months-old Ford Mustang
F,
-.19%.
Its record stated 5 Nissan
NSANY,
-.74%
types, including the all-electrical LEAF, which was just about 11% a lot more high priced than the employed motor vehicle.

Also see: How substantially far more fuel is costing for each individual kind of vehicle — see how yours stacks up

Browsing in the new usual

If you completely have to acquire a car or truck now, here are a few methods to think about:

Do the research. Explore searching on the net for your automobile. Look at both new and used rates in your place, considering that charges vary according to the region, Toprak claims. Also, be forewarned and prevent models with the optimum cost improves, Brauer claims.

Wait around if you can. Toprak suggests ordering a auto from the factory to keep away from the rates currently charged for new and employed automobiles. It’s no warranty you will shell out sticker selling price, but the odds are improved than making an attempt to invest in promptly.

Obtain an interim journey. For small-term fixes, glance at a subscription services, such as Autonomy, that allows you to get in and out of cars simply. Equally, you may decide on up a motor vehicle by finishing someone’s lease. Locate vehicles on Swapalease.com or LeaseTrader.

There are also downsides to getting a employed motor vehicle in excess of sticker value:

  • Bigger funding. Incentives and subsidized financing rates normally use to new-car sales, not applied. And employed-vehicle desire fees are usually bigger. Loan companies typically cap the amount of money they will lend from a car’s sticker or e book price, even for purchasers with exceptional credit, at 115% to 135%.
  • Confined warranties. Just about all producers present at the very least a three-yr, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper guarantee on new automobiles. Purchasing a 2-12 months-previous applied car indicates that guarantee will expire quicker and leave you dependable for repairs.
  • Gap insurance coverage. If your automobile is totaled, gap insurance plan pays the change between its good industry worth — what the insurance policies organization pays — and what you owe. You’re a great deal a lot more very likely to owe more than the car’s benefit if you pay new-motor vehicle price ranges for a calendar year-old car.

Extra From NerdWallet

Philip Reed writes for NerdWallet. E mail: [email protected] Twitter: @AutoReed.

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