When a new vehicle is driven off of a dealer’s lot, it will lose 10% of its value on average. After a year that number increases to 20%, and after five years, the automobile will be worth less than half of what you paid for it. Furthermore, the average cost of a new model is about $30,000. Think about that. Someone could pay $30,000 for their car, drive it off the lot, then return it. It might only have two miles on it. Now you can buy it for $27,000. The average price of a used auto is $15,000. Pre-owned cars also depreciate at a more gradual rate than new ones. In short, buying used means saving money on the initial purchase, and having your investment depreciate less as the years go by.
One of the main reasons that people give for buying a new automobile is that they don’t want to deal with breakdowns. Fortunately for today’s buyers, vehicles are the most reliable in history. With the increase in competition between European, American, and Asian companies in the 1980s came a corresponding increase in reliability. Since the mid 1990s, the U.S. government has kept records of the average age of automobiles on the road. Last year, that number reached its highest point yet, with the average age eclipsing 11 years. So what does that mean for buyers? In short, it means that they can buy pre-owned cars with the knowledge that they can run for many more years and many more miles. For those who are very concerned with repairs, you can even find used models that come with a manufacturer’s warranty.