This is an issue that causes some conjecture out here. Personally, I’ve never been in a position to purchase a brand new car, though I’d love to. One of the big fear factors with doing so is the depreciation factor. Take a look at these figures below, and you’ll see why.
The interesting thing though, is that Saab is commonly perceived as having way worse depreciation than other Euro brands. I managed to catch hold of a site today that allows you to compare different types of vehicles and their depreciation after 1, 2, 3 and 4 years. It’s on the UK-based car site, WhatCar, and is available here. Obviously it’s going to reflect UK conditions, but I’d be willing to perform the same analysis if anyone can post a link to a US site of a similar nature.
Have a look at the following diagram. I’ve done the depreciation schedules for 3 roughly similar cars, all of German extraction:
Now, as you can see, the argument against buying new is pretty much confirmed by this. You lose a fair chunk of the price you pay in just the first year’s depreciation before it levels out to a slower decline over the following years.
So where do you think a comparable Saab might fit in amongst these German behemoths? Say, a 9-3 Vector Sport for example? Saabs, remember, have this reputation for being huuuuuuuuuuuuge depreciators. Far more than their German counterparts.
Well, adjust your thinking, folks…..
The 9-3 Vector Sport is remarkably similar to the other models examined. It’s still at the bottom of the group – the Saab retains 40.17% of it’s value after 4 years, the Audi 43.95%, the Bimmer 41.96% and the Merc 44.97% – but it’s nowhere near as far off as I thought it would be.
Compare it then with what some might see as it’s more natural competitor – a Volvo S60 2.0T Sport 4door. You might pay a little less up front for the Volvo, but it’ll lose a whopping 70% of its value over the first four years of its life:
The deficit to the German marques gives Saab some room for improvement. Something to aim at. The benefit over Volvo, along with safety and design, gives them a definite marketing tool to use.
Go to it, lads!!
I noticed the link to this depreciation schedule in this post at SaabCentral, where a similar analysis was performed. Kudos to SM Harmon for posting it.