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Toyota, Honda top lists for resale value

Toyota gets top marks for resale value in two new reports.
Toyota gets top marks for resale value in two new reports.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

While two new studies don’t always agree on the fine points, they do find that Honda and Toyota are generally the best brands for holding their resale values after several years in service.

Import brands, on the whole, dominated the two studies by ALG – formerly known as the Automotive Lease Guide – and, both released Monday.

Resale values are a significant factor that many motorists have learned to take into consideration when shopping for a new vehicle because, in some cases, that can make a more expensive price tag up front prove to be a bargain, longer-term, when it comes time to trade in.

"Toyota, Audi and Honda captured the most segment honors due to the consistent high value of all their products," said Larry Dominique, president of ALG. "Honda was named top Mainstream Brand due to their prudent use of (sales) incentives – $1,000 lower than the mainstream average – and low rental fleet penetration."

Industry analysts warn that dumping cars into fleets – especially daily rental fleets – can lower the long-term value of a brand’s products. Honda, in particular, has traditionally aimed to keep fleet “penetration” down in the low single-digits.

But there are other factors that can influence how much a car is worth come trade-in time, including the reliability of a vehicle line, as well as more immediate factors that can raise or lower the trade-in on individual vehicles.

That makes it difficult to predict precisely what a vehicle will be worth after several years, and why the two studies disagreed, at least somewhat. KelleyBlueBook, or KBB, declared that Toyota was the brand with the highest resale value overall, while the Japanese maker’s Lexus division was tops among luxury brands.

According to KBB, the typical Toyota is expected to yield 46.1 percent of its original value at trade-in time after five years on the road. That is a 2.1 percentage-point increase from the 2013 resale study.

Among the other imports to do well on the two studies were Porsche – its Panamera named top vehicle in ALG’s Premium Executive segment, and Hyundai, which scored in several segments with its Accent subcompact and midsize Santa Fe Sport crossover.

But domestics weren’t entirely absent. In fact, Chevrolet had two models listed by ALG: the Corvette and Camaro. KBB added the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup and the Dodge Challenger.

According to KBB, all 10 of its segment winners will be worth at least 50 percent after five years on the road while the top model, the Toyota FJ Cruiser, will retain a whopping 70 percent of its original value.

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