Carlypso’s Top 10 Depreciating Cars of 2015


January 01, 2016

They may have lost a lot of value in 2015, but these almost new cars actually signal great deals for savvy customers.

2015 was a great year for new vehicle sales, as much as 17.5 million according to most analysts. But the old adage that your new car purchase loses 20% of value as soon as you drive it off the lot doesn’t hold for all vehicles. In fact, many vehicles lose much more than that in their first year of ownership. That is not all bad news however: Cars that have lost a lot of value in 2015 actually signal great deals for savvy customers in January. Carlypso compared original MSRP to wholesale market prices to identify the top vehicles that lost value in 2015.

Model Year 2015 Deals

The top 10 model year 2015 vehicles with highest depreciation spans a wide range of vehicle types. Except for the Chevrolet Express, all vehicles on the list are cars, demonstrating that overall, trucks retain their value better than cars. The most surprising fact about the list was that almost all the vehicles were on the list for different reasons. None of these vehicles are “bad eggs” so the high depreciation may actually signal a good deal for many.

1) Nissan Leaf – 48%

Original MSRP: $29,010 – $35,120

At the top of the list is the Nissan Leaf all-electric vehicle with depreciation of 48%. This is not too surprising given the government subsidies available. However, even with these subsidies taken into account, the Leaf is still one of the highest depreciating vehicles on the market with a new model coming for 2017.

2) Dodge Charger – 45%

Original MSRP: $27,995 – $62,295

Even thought the Charger is a new model introduction, many are sold into fleet duties for rental cars. Of all the cars in our list, the Charger had the highest average mileage across all transactions at 19,135, adding to the high depreciation.

3) Mercedes-Benz SL-Class – 41%

Original MSRP: $84,000 – $149,700

Priced at the high end of the market, luxury cars typically have high depreciation and therefore surprising that only the Mercedes and Cadillac CTS made the list. The SL-Class is an older model with increased competition and aggressive pricing that combine to drive high depreciation.

4) Chevrolet Camaro – 39%

Original MSRP: $23,705 – $72,305

The 2015 Chevy Camaro is an outgoing model, which means it can be purchased at a significant discount over the new 2016 redesign. Considering the redesign does not look dramatically different from the 2015, this could be a great buy for a consumer looking for a muscle car deal.

5) Kia Cadenza – 38%

Original MSRP: $34,900 – $43,800

6) Kia Optima – 35%

Original MSRP: $21,840 – $35,500

Kia is the only manufacturer with multiple models in the top 10, signaling the market may not readily accept Kia’s in the high $30,000 to $40,000 range. Not to be overlooked though for consumers, the Cadenza and Optima are both great cars with lots of features at these price points.

7) Volkswagen Beetle – 37%

Original MSRP: $20,195 – $35,975

It is not uncommon for brand halo vehicles to have high depreciation late in their model lifecycle as demand cools, which is the case for the relatively unchanged Beetle. Additionally, diesel versions of the Beetle are part of the wide Volkswagen emissions scandal.

8) Chevrolet Express – 37%

Original MSRP: $32,190 – $49,295

The Chevrolet Express is the only “truck” on the list but in reality is a commercial van, used by businesses for deliveries. It is also one of the oldest models compared to the competition which has new product entrants like the Ford Transit Connect.

9) Mitsubishi Lancer – 35%

Original MSRP: $17,395 – $29,495

Mitsubishi has had a difficult time in the U.S. market for the past decade, with sales declines year over year and an aging product portfolio. The Lancer suffers from continued discounts and a weak brand outlook.

10) Cadillac CTS – 34%

Original MSRP: $45,345 – $69,340

A newly designed model in 2015, the CTS is suffering from aggressive pricing and cannibalization within its own product ranks with the smaller and less-expensive ATS. Cadillac is trying to increase volume and compete more directly with the larger luxury players but struggles with high depreciation across the brand.