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The 11 new cars people most regularly ditch after just one year of ownership

Brian Pascus
  • The automotive search engine iSeeCars.com analysed the 24 million new car sales over a two-year period in order to figure out which cars are most frequently re-sold after being purchased.
  • iSeeCars.com only analysed cars that were sold between 2015 and 2017. The resale percentage rate was calculated by dividing the total number of models resold by the total amount of new vehicle sales for that particular model.
  • Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand models are resold at a significantly higher rate. In fact, six of the top 11 most re-sold cars in the country are either a Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
  • "I expect the reason is that both these brands sell very expensive vehicles," Gartner's senior automotive analyst Mike Ramsey told Business Insider. "I expect that both the cost to own and maintain the cars puts a high burden on people who bought them and then they are forced to sell them not long after."

Owning a car is one of the biggest financial investments one can make. But buyer's remorse strikes everyone, and some cars are resold at a rate more frequent than other models.

To figure out which cars are most frequently sold after being purchased, the automotive search engine iSeeCars.com analysed 24 million new car sales over a two-year period.

Their methodology only analysed cars that were sold between 2015 and 2017. The resale percentage rate was calculated by dividing the total number of models resold by the total amount of new vehicle sales for that specific model. New cars with more than 500 miles and used cars with less than 4,000 miles were excluded for the study.

While iSeeCars.com found that the market had an average resale rate of 1.5%, a group of cars had significantly higher rates of resale.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand cars are resold at a significantly higher rate. In fact, six of the top 11 most re-sold cars are either a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW.

This is not to say that every Mercedes-Benz or BMW is a poor purchase. Often, because these are luxury vehicles, consumers have a higher standard for the vehicles and might not be as easily satisfied as they would be by a mid-level sedan.

According to Mike Ramsey, an automotive analyst and senior research director at Gartner, cost is another consideration.

"I expect the reason is that both these brands sell very expensive vehicles," Ramsey told Business Insider. "I expect that both the cost to own and maintain the cars puts a high burden on people who bought them and then they are forced to sell them not long after."

iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly has another explanation, seeing the high rate of resale as a deliberate marketing strategy between the luxury automakers and dealers, who buy the new cars up and sell them when still under a year old.

"It puts brand-new models in the hands of current owners when they bring their cars in for service, increasing the likelihood that they will buy another car from that brand," Ly said in a public statement. "In addition, it essentially increases the brand's new car sales, which help to give them the ability to claim the title of 'top luxury brand', something that BMW and Mercedes-Benz compete for every year.""

Other reasons which may contribute to their high resale numbers is that luxury cars depreciate at a much faster rate than other models, consumers may only be purchasing them as status-symbols rather than as long-haul investments, and some of these luxury models may only be used as corporate cars that have a high turnover among companies.

Ramsay added that, "Many BMW and Mercedes dealers maintain significant loaner fleets as a service to their customers who are having their vehicle worked on in the shop," and thus sell their consumers demo-cars with a low amount of miles on them.

Let's take a look at the entire list below of the 11 cars re-sold at the fastest rate by American consumers.

11. Nissan Versa — (1st year resale rate) 3.2%

10. Subaru WRX — (1st year resale rate) 3.3%

9. Chrysler 200 — (1st year resale rate) 3.8%

8. Mercedes E-Class — (1st year resale rate) 3.9%

7. BMW 4 Series — (1st year resale rate) 3.9%

6. BMW X3 — (1st year resale rate) 3.9%

5. Dodge Dart — (1st year resale rate) 3.9%

4. Nissan Versa Note — (1st year resale rate) 4.0%

3. Mercedes C-Class — (1st year resale rate) 6.1%

2. BMW 5 Series — (1st year resale rate) 7.1%

1. BMW 3 Series — (1st year resale rate) 8.0%

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