Consumers opt to buy new cars for several reasons: (1) There’s that awesome new-car smell. (2) They come with a warranty. (3) Owners won’t have to worry about repairs due to mileage. (4) They’re the first person to break it in. (5) New cars are considered more reliable. And (6) there’s the issue of social status. But the top reason many people choose new is they don’t trust used-car dealers or the quality of used cars in general.
What makes a pre-owned car certified?
To be considered a certified pre-owned vehicle, the manufacturer must guarantee the car. Without the automaker’s backing, no used car can be considered certified pre-owned. Another commonly used term is “factory-certified pre-owned.” Any car dealer claiming a vehicle on the lot is CPO when it’s not is committing fraud. Depending on the circumstances, a dealership’s fraudulent claims can be state or federal crimes. Most of the time, matters are handled in civil court, with dealers forced to pay hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to customers.
Most if not all U.S. states have legislation prohibiting deceptive advertising. For example, Ohio car dealers advertising any vehicle as certified must offer a manufacturer’s warranty, per the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Additionally, dealers must be able to substantiate their certification standards and procedures, as well as demonstrate how such vehicles provide a greater benefit to consumers.
The huge difference between CPO and used cars
There’s a reason why state and federal laws prohibit dealerships from falsely advertising cars as CPO when they’re not. First, confidence in the vehicle’s quality will be fallacious. Second, CPO vehicles are held to much higher standards — standards that manufacturers establish. Allowing used-car dealers to get away with falsely advertising pre-owned cars as certified when they’re not would gradually erode consumer trust.
So, what’s the difference between CPO vehicles and those that aren’t? How significant are those differences? How do CPO vehicles compare to new ones?
When you buy a used car, you inherit often-unknown mechanical issues. Though it would be great to have blind faith in others, you should assume the seller hasn’t told you about every issue. An undisclosed problem could be merely an oversight, or it could be deliberate. After all, sellers usually want to get the most money for their used cars, creating an incentive for dishonesty.
For example, mileage inconsistency is one of the most common issues in the used-car market. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with tampered odometer readings.
CPO cars compared to new cars
Some people might try to sell the idea that CPO cars are better than new ones.
It depends on each individual’s situation. But generally speaking, new vehicles are superior to pre-owned ones. You can never make a used car like new again. Plus, tech-rich features make newer vehicles more difficult and expensive to repair or refurbish, which has sent the price of CPO vehicles up over the years.
Nevertheless, CPO vehicles are almost always a lot cheaper than their newly built counterparts. And while they’re more expensive than regular used cars, CPO vehicles offer you more security — but for less money than new. With that said, if you’re willing to forego the benefits that come with owning a new car, a CPO vehicle is the next best thing. Just remember to do your homework before making a purchase.
Acura awarded the best CPO warranty for 2020
Every luxury automaker has a CPO program. But MotorTrend deemed Acura the premium brand with the top overall CPO program for 2020. Acura’s CPO program perks include a two-year/100,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Cadillac is the only other vehicle manufacturer that won CPO awards in 2020: for cost of ownership and warranty. In particular, the XT5 and Escalade offered buyers the lowest cost of ownership, which holds a lot of weight.