Buying a Luxury Car? Steer Toward Imports for Highest Value Retention

CarGurus Study Examines Resale Values of Major Luxury Car Brands; Lexus Holds Value Best, While Lincoln, Cadillac and Acura Prove Among Worst for Resale

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., October 24, 2011 -- A recent study by auto research and shopping website CarGurus ( found that Lexus ranks as the premium car brand with the best overall value retention, while Lincoln, Cadillac and Acura are among the biggest value losers. CarGurus examined the current market prices of comparable 2008 luxury vehicles with 36,000 miles in each of three segments (midsize sedans, full-size sedans and SUVs) to determine value retention since original purchase. The Lexus models studied consistently held their value well, with current market values holding at an average of 80% of the original manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP). Mercedes-Benz (75% average value retention), BMW (74%) and Infiniti (74%) models also showed strong value retention overall. In contrast, current market values for the 2008 Cadillac, Lincoln and Acura models studied were on average just 68% or less of original MSRP.

The following chart shows overall value retention score by manufacturer, based on the average retention rates for the 2008 models/trims analyzed in this study. For additional information on average current market values and value retention for each of the models studied, visit

Manufacturer 2008 Models Sudied Average Value Retention
Lexus SUV: Lexus RX
Midsize sedan: Lexus IS, Lexus ES
Full-size sedan: Lexus GS
Mercedes-Benz SUV: Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Midsize sedan: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Full-size sedan: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Midsize sedan: BMW 3 Series
Full-size sedan: BMW 5 Series
Infiniti SUV: Infiniti FX35
Midsize sedan: Infiniti G35
Full-size sedan: Infiniti M35
Audi SUV: Audi Q7
Midsize sedan: Audi A4
Full-size sedan: Audi A6
Acura SUV: Acura MDX
Midsize sedan: Acura TL
Full-size sedan: Acura RL
Lincoln SUV: Lincoln Navigator, Lincoln MKX
Midsize sedan: Lincoln MKZ
Full-size sedan: Lincoln Town Car
Cadillac SUV: Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac SRX
Midsize sedan: Cadillac CTS
Full-size sedan: Cadillac STS, Cadillac DTS

"Despite some recent improvements in styling and performance, the domestic premium brands still are not getting top dollar at resale," said Langley Steinert, founder and CEO of CarGurus. "If you are shopping for a new luxury car, consider the imports we've identified with the best value retention. Initial price points might be higher, but the pay-off will be worth it at trade-in."


CarGurus' analysis focused on comparable 2008 models from Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz in three segments in which each OEM has similar offerings: midsize sedans, full-size sedans and SUVs. For each model considered, CarGurus analyzed pricing and values for a variety of trims. To arrive at the overall value retention rates for each trim of each model, CarGurus compared the original manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) to the current CarGurus' DealFinder Instant Market Value for the same car with 36,000 miles (12,000 per year). CarGurus' DealFinder IMV is based on a proprietary pricing model that analyzes historic and current prices of thousands of comparable listings at the trim level to determine the market value for the car. The overall value retention rates cited for each manufacturer are an average of all models considered for that manufacturer.

About CarGurus

CarGurus ( is a leading online automotive destination focused on making the car shopping and research experience more transparent for consumers. CarGurus' flagship DealFinder ( shopping tool is free and offers shoppers instant guidance on great deals from great dealers in their local area. CarGurus' DealFinder is the only online automotive shopping tool to provide full price transparency, allowing consumers to immediately see how each listing's price compares to those of similar listings in their area. Located in Cambridge, Mass., CarGurus was founded by Langley Steinert, co-founder and former Chairman of TripAdvisor, the largest travel site in the world.

Amy Mueller