Some used vehicles are selling for more than their new versions in DC

Both the new and used vehicle markets are wacky right now, with double-digit year-over-year increases in prices and popular vehicles that are in short supply.

The newest twist is that certain, gently owned used vehicles are selling for more than their brand new counterparts. The reason is supply and demand, especially for buyers who are set on trading in for a sought-after model.

“If you’ve got a new vehicle that you are interested in, and you go to your dealer and there is no time frame that he can give you honestly on when that new car is going to come in, but the same model, one or two years old, is sitting on the lot, ready to go, people are buying them, just to have the vehicle today versus waiting an indefinite amount of time,” said Karl Brauer at new and used vehicle search site iSeeCars.

Used-more-than-new certainly does not apply across the board, but is a phenomenon that is happening with models that are in extremely high demand, and extremely low supply. The D.C. market is no different.

“It is an interesting mix in D.C. You’ve got everything from a compact truck like a Toyota Tacoma, to a sedan like the Dodge Charger, to a large SUV like the Chevrolet Tahoe,” Brauer said.

In the D.C. market, iSeeCars research shows a one-year-old Tahoe with 10,000 miles on it sells for 12.5% more than an identical, new, but unavailable version.

Nationwide, the average one-year-old lightly-used vehicle currently sells for an average of 1.3% more than its new version.

The auto industry sees no short-term relief in computer chip shortages or supply chain issues that have dampened production. More vehicle owners who may otherwise be ready to trade-in are now holding off.

“We do see people keeping their cars longer. We are telling people right now, if you can hold off on buying a vehicle, either a new vehicle or a new-to-you used vehicle, if you can hold off, this isn’t really the best time to buy,” Brauer said.

Nationwide, the one-year-old used vehicle that trumps its new price the most is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, at 35.6% more.

Below is a chart of the top one-year-old, low mileage used vehicles that are selling more for their new counterparts in the D.C. market. iSeecar’s full report is online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up