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America’s Most Painfully Depreciating New Car

HEaderDepreciation of the vehicles we drive is a lot like going to the dentist; we all have to deal with it, it sucks, so why talk about it. Well, talking about it—depreciation, not the dentist—is what I am going to be doing today, because, like some dentist trips, a cars depreciation can be a lot more painful than another. Before we go any further, I have to define what I mean when I say ‘painful depreciation’: All cars depreciate, however some depreciate quicker than others. For some customers, this is a given when they buy their car; after all, the last 4 Lexus RX’s they bought have depreciated similarly but they don’t care because they want the new one. Other customers won’t even think about it, because a car is an appliance, meant to be used until you want a new one; think Toyota Camry owner. However, for a few unlucky new car customers, the factors align, and the purchase point of the car, combined with the market of the car, make their car feature particularly painful depreciation for them. While this may be confusing, my choice of ‘most painfully depreciating new car’ should clear it up.

Almost a quarter of a million dollars for that box. Crazy.

It is also important to note that I am talking about brand new, 2017 or 2018 model year vehicles, and how much they depreciate the second they drive off the lot. The obvious example for a past painful depreciating car is the C5 corvette, as they were fairly expensive when new—think $60k in today’s money—and can now be had for under $20k on the used market for a good one. And they are all good ones. Other cars from the era have depreciated similarly—just look at the S-Class market from the C5 Corvette-era—but the average owners between the cars makes the depreciation felt differently by the owners. The Corvette is the every-man’s sports car, and as such, every-man Joe tends to buy it, while the S-Class is bought by a more professional individual. The S-Class owner can typically—and totally stereotypically, I know—eat the depreciation of his car, and then go buy the newest one, whereas every-man Joe saves his C5 for years, babying it as his life’s pinnacle, only to see it drop 2/3rds in value. He didn’t know that when he bought it knew, but now, 15 years on, it’s the reality.

The sole press photo for the Roadster. Showing off dat azz. Classy Nissan.

BUT! That isn’t the focus of today’s article; instead, I am looking for the modern C5. What car is being sold today to a particular market that is featuring the most painful depreciation? For all of my used car prices, I am using, as it is the nationwide standard.  I’ll cut straight to the point; the car I choose is the 2018 Nissan 370Z Roadster. While a 2017 Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG may lose $60k the second they drive off the lot, someone buying a biturbo V12 40-year old off-road military vehicle doesn’t really care about that.


What Roadster shoppers actually want.


However, someone shopping for a 370Z Roadster—not quite a German brand, better than a convertible muscle car in some people’s status-driven eyes—is looking for the best they can get in their budget. And the key word there is budget. The average Z shopper is usually well-to-do, but not so well-to-do as to be shopping above Z level.

370Z for sale
The car currently for sale. I like the blue.

That’s not to say that the 370Z is a cheap car; it is surprisingly expensive in my eyes. A base 2018 370Z Roadster—which MY isn’t quite available—rings in at $41,820 before destination charges, while a top-tier Touring Sport spec’d model tickles $50k at $49,400. That is a lot of money for what is a very old, very heavy sports car, but people seem to be buying them, and Nissan keeps making them. However, those people are suffering what must be the most painful depreciation this side of a luxury limo: a 2016 model—which is the year before the one currently on sale—with less than 2500 miles, is on Autotrader right now for $26,985. It isn’t even an odd-ball model like a White Pearl Roadster with a Red Top; those depreciate even worse but none are currently for sale. Judging from how long it’s been listed, that exact 370Z could probably be had for a good offer less than the $27K currently being asked.

Red roof
The Unicorn of Z Roadsters, this color combo doesn’t have the best resale value.

So, pretty simple article: the 370Z Roadster, with its nearly $15k in one year depreciation, or 38% depreciation, is the most painfully depreciating car for its owner currently on sale. Think I am wrong, or have an example of your own choice? Let me know down below, and as always, like and share the article with everyone you know and then some!


Stephen Hyden View All

I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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