Insane depriciation?

I bought a 2005 Scion xA less than a year ago for a great deal at $9100. There were hundreds of them for sale across the country, most priced around $11-13K. Recently, I’ve begun thinking about swapping up to the xD, which naturally involves selling my car.

I went to and (I always misspell ebay as ebya) and there were just a few 2005 xAs for sale and they were going for around $5-9K. A local dealership valued my car at between $3500-6500, depending on a final in-person inspection (trade-in). I still owe $6000 on it, and it makes me mad that this car has decreased in value so much. Or has it - is the dealership smoking some good weed or what?

Check at the local library and see what Kelley Bluebook and NADA have to say.

NADA lists it at $6325 clean trade-in and $8K clean resale (my car’s in good condition). Kelley lists the trade in value at $5125-5600 and private party value in the low to mid $7000s. I guess in the end I just want to be able to sell the car and pay off my loan completely. It has just 15K more miles on it than it had when I bought it (now at 89300). These Scions seem to not hold their resale value, though. That is not a good sign.

You bought it when gas prices were high, and the economy hadn’t tanked. Now prices are lower and the economy’s in the toilet. Not a problem with your car.

You can check Edmunds on line also. Remember to input all the options and be honest with yourself about condition. Trading is a last resort if there are serious problems with the car, IMO. If there is an inspection involved in transferring the title, get the inspection certificate ahead of time. That way the buyer just has to register it and drive. You control all the costs that way.

Vehicles depreciate in cycles. They take a big hit the first 2-3 years and then level off. Then after about 5-6 years they take another big hit. The years I have given are not exact. Also if the figures the dealer give you are not to your expectations it does not mean they are smoking rope or anything.

Also, you can’t compare trade in value to what you paid. There is always a hit if you take trade-in value.

Dealer trade-in is always way, way lower. You bought the car as a private party, so the price you should be looking at is the private party value (a.k.a “what they’re going for”). If they go for up to 9k with a book value at 8k, it doesn’t sound like it’s depreciated that much.

Realisitically, it’s a 4-year old car (almost 5 in model years) that only went for about 12k new-- if it’s worth much more than 6 or 7k it’s holding its value pretty darn well. Try seeing what a 4-5 year old domestic SUV is going for now relative to its original cost!

Thanks for all the feedback - I came here looking for other people’s perspectives on this, and I got it - it is very helpful. I will most likely get a loan from the credit union, buy the car with the loan and privately sell my vehicle before it enters the NEXT depreciation cycle :-).

Your car has depreciated only in trade in value, which is always bad. It’s why dealers can make a profit when ordinary people can’t. We can do better if we can find our own buyer, but it takes some work. I may start changing my own way of buying used cars by avoiding dealers.

Yeah, I second that motion :-). Death to the dealers! (unless they give us what we want, that is haha). Seriously, I believe it’s a good policy. If you don’t care about what they’ll give you for your vehicle, or money really isn’t an issue and you want the convenience of just going to a dealership and having them take care of everything (including screwing you on the trade-in price), then doing it that way is desirable. But most of us can’t afford that luxury unfortunately.
Wish me luck as I go to play hardball with the dealership to try and get this car for a good price (I hope to negotiate them down from $16500 to 14K).

I too don’t understand why that much depreciation has occurred in such a short period. The platform is the tried-and-true Echo platform, and I’m unaware of any chronic problems. Perhaps too many were in the inventory pathway when the economy plummeted. I don’t know.

The good news is that you’re only upgrading and not trading it because it’s unreliable. And I have to suggest that trading a vehicle one year after purchase is always a losing proposition. I did an even worse one. I had to trade a brand new Corolla in 2005 after only two months because of medical reasons. I lost $2500 on that deal.

Agree; I just opened the morning paper and saw an ad for a loaded 2008 Chevy Cobalt going for 50% of its new selling price. This was probably a rental unit, but market conditions and the health of GM make this good value for money. On the other hand trading in a 1 or 2 year old GM car would be an economically foolish thing to do!

It isn’t just that your car has depreciated. Another factor is this economy. Anyone trying to sell a vehicle right now is in a tough position. It is currently a buyers market.

So don’t be angry. Just wait for the economy to recover and you will be able to sell it for a reasonable price.

Thanks for that perspective. If it’s a buyer’s market, that’s good for me (in purchasing a new used car). One way or another I’ll come out on top.

Not insane.
Look at it from a business perspective - any business, not just cars.

When you’re selling a product which has a pre-given and published selling price…you MUST pay less than that to buy inventory ! …Period.

Have you ever tried to pawn your guitar ? How about that diamond ring that you know could sell for a thousand or more ? They’re not going to give to you, the dollar amount that they will in turn sell it for.

You need to find someone with $6K CASH to buy your car. In today’s world, that will be difficult to do. If you buy cars on credit and trade them in less than a year, you are going to take a bath. Get used to it…You are willing to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade your trim package?? You’re crazy!

I think it is funny that people go into debt for thousands of dollars to upgrade their trim package.

They look at cars as a fashion statement.

Trading their gold for shiny pieces of plastic.

Yeah, if you thought that depreciation was bad, try looking at Bentleys and Rolls Royce from the 1990’s. You can get one for about $30K or thereabouts. They were sold for about $190000K or more when new!!!

Best bet is similar car, mileage, condition for sale AutoTrader, newspaper asking prices. Market best for price. Always less at dealership for trade in so don’t. What you owe is not relevant to sales price.