Resale/trade in value of discontinued cars

I’ve been looking at Oldsmobile Aleros. But, they’re discontinued vehicles, and I’m concerned about the resale/trade in value of the car by the time we plan to upgrade, say in 2014. What’s your advice?

Are you aware that this vehicle went out of production in 2004?
Are you aware that the Alero is listed by Consumer Reports as a “Used Car to Avoid”, based on its below-average reliability?
Are you aware that this design was rated “poor” by NHTSA for passenger protection in a crash?

If you manage to locate a 2004 Alero in good condition, its book value is probably no more than $6,000.00, and I suspect that it would likely sell for less than that amount. In another 5 years, it will have a book value of–at best–less than $1,000.00, but that would be true for many low-end cars that are 10 years old.

If you can find an Alero in good condition, and if it can be verified by your mechanic to be in good mechanical order, then it might be a decent car to buy. However, any 10 year old car will have limited resale value in 2014, and the Olds will probably be more limited in value than most.

This is not an investment, and should be considered only for what it is–low-cost transportation.

Olds Aleros haven’t been “new” cars for years, the lastest models were around 2004. You are looking at a car that has already taken the initial depreciation hit. In 2014 it will be 10+ years old. How much value do you expect it to have?

You are going to get an Olds Alero at a good price now. Don’t worry about the resale value in 2014. If resale value is a big deal then pay the big bucks now for a Honda or Toyota.

In his book “What You Should Know About Cars”, the late Tom McCahill (automotive writer for Mechanix Illustrated), suggested that it was better to purchase an unpopular new car when it became a used car. The original owner took the hosing and you might as well be the person to reap the benefits. Of course, the reverse is true when you buy a new car. You want a car that will hold its value if you plan to trade every two to four years.

The 1959 and 1960 Edsels had the same engines and drive trains as the Fords of the same model years. The 1959 and 1960 DeSotos were essentially the lower line Chryslers. People who bought used Edsels and DeSotos in the early 1960’s had cars for which parts and service were readily available, but paid much less than they would have paid for an equivalent Ford or Chrysler. The Oldsmobile Aleros share drivetrains with other GM models that are still produced. If you find a good one, you might as well take advantage of the high depreciation suffered by the former owner. After a car is more than six years old or so, it doesn’t have loan value. There is a big drop in resale price and new car dealers most often send cars of this age to the auction house because the dealer can’t finance the car. Even the newest of the Oldsmobile Alero cars soon won’t have a loan value.

One more thought on orphan cars: a 1960 Edsel was really a Ford and the engines used in the Edsel was manufactured by Ford for a long time. On the other hand, my first car was a 1947 Pontiac. It had an inline 6 cylinder flat head engine. I bought the car in 1962. Pontiac quit producing an inline flathead engine after 1954 and the 6 cylinder had not been very popular for a long time before 1954. I had to really scrounge to find parts for this car, even though Pontiacs were still being produced.