by Christopher Boyle
LONG ISLAND, NY – Used cars can be great for someone on a budget seeing quality in their automobile at a fraction of the price normally associated with new ones; if you do your homework and do business with reputable pre-owned dealerships whom sell well-maintained cars, you’re assured many miles of problem-free driving while sparing your bank account at the same time. However, buying used also affords you other opportunities… such as indulging yourself in ways you might not ordinarily be able to.
How, you may ask? By finally getting your sticky little fingers on that swanky luxury model you’ve been eyeing like a kid in a candy shop for the past few years – and at a shockingly affordable price, that’s how!
Simply put, standard-model cars and their luxury counterparts depreciate at different rates of speed. It’s a phenomenon known as “cousin cars,” and it refers to vehicles that are built by a given automobile manufacturer in two different versions – a “standard” model and a “luxury” model – and it’s something that can result in a great deal of savings when it comes to buying the fancier version, as studies show that while depreciation rates standard-model cars tend to lower slowly and plateau early, the same cannot be said of their luxury counterparts.
Luxury “cousin cars” – and more often than now, luxury cars of any sort – tend to depreciate more quickly overall than models built with the middle-class masses in mind. The price gap between the cost of a standard-type vehicle and its luxury equivalent often closes as they age; eventually, you should be able to purchase the upgraded version for a price that approximates its more mundane relative.
Also, what should be noted is that the recently-adopted GOP tax reform bill – which not only slashes taxes for businesses and corporations, but for regular citizens as well – will result in the Average Joe or Jane finding a few extra bucks in their accounts each year, so the urge to go with a luxury model automobile, even when going used, will become a more valid option for any consumer looking for a pre-owned set of wheels.
Of course, if you do go upscale with your ‘new-to-you’ used vehicle, the money you may save with the purchase of a pre-owned car may be eaten up by the day-to-day expenses that accompany the ownership of a luxury ride. For example, insurance rates on some models can be higher than average, due to the higher costs associated with repairs should you get into an accident. Also, many luxury engines are designed for high performance – as opposed to fuel economy – and not only will some models gulp-up more gas, more than, say, a 4-cylinder Honda, but many luxury manufacturers recommend the use of more-expensive premium fuel as well. Likewise, repairs and maintenance tends to be more costly as well; for example, a typical Mercedes runs an average of $13,000 to maintain over a ten-year period, in contrast to a your average Toyota, the maintenance of which usually runs only $5,500 over the same time span. Many dealerships these days, however, offer pre-paid care packages that cover things such as oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine aspects of car care that are sure to not only save you money in the long run, but extend the life and performance of your used auto as well (You’re more likely to perform routine maintenance when it is included).
And finally, let’s not forget that one factor that enabled you to be able to afford such a vehicle to begin with- depreciation, which will continue to happen one you assume ownership. However, proper maintenance and responsible handling should minimize that aspect, should you ever decide to sell off your car and upgrade once again – or go cheaper, if the luxury experience didn’t turn out as you had hoped – in the future.
So, if you’re in the market for a used car, and you’ve always fancied the thought of driving around in the style and comfort afforded by a luxury vehicle, such a dream might be closer to reality then you think…especially these days with luxury vehicle depreciation rates being what they are, in conjunction with recently-lowered income taxes. Of course, going luxury may invoke a whole series of new expenses that you previously didn’t have to contend with if you’re used to owning economy models, but if you use your head and plan out your spending habits, there’s no reason why upgrading should be out of your grasp. All told, buying a used luxury ride couldn’t come at a better time.