How Bad Is the Car Market? Rich People Are Buying Their Luxury Cars Used

You’ve likely noticed the price of everything, from groceries to gasoline, is rising. This steady trend is affecting wealthy car buyers, too. Today, a new luxury car can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Is this why many deep-pocketed shoppers are buying pre-owned luxury cars?

Luxury cars are becoming scarce in showrooms

Bentley luxury cars lined up along a tall green hedge
Bentley luxury cars | Phil Inglis/Getty Images

Fewer new cars are making it to showroom floors in 2021, and the global semiconductor chip shortage is at least partially to blame, Jalopnik reports. Despite decent car sales in the first half of the year, lots are now experiencing inventory shortages.

Luxury cars are becoming relatively scarce, too, and many shoppers who would’ve plunked down cash for a new model a year or two ago are too impatient to wait for a new Rolls-Royce or another luxury car to roll off the production line, Bloomberg reports.

Certified pre-owned Bentley and Rolls-Royce programs

Wealthy car buyers don’t have to hobnob with used-car sellers such as those on Craigslist or eBay. Touting benefits such as meticulous maintenance, extensive road tests, and painstaking refurbishment, Rolls-Royce offers a curated collection of pre-owned Rolls-Royce automobiles aimed at a wealthy and discerning used-car-buying clientele.

Bentley also offers a used-car program that appeals to rich car buyers. According to the automaker, pre-owned Bentley vehicles undergo a 79-point technical inspection before being approved for resale with the Certified by Bentley seal. Each used luxury car sold through Bentley comes with roadside assistance and a one-year warranty.

Luxury cars cost big bucks but get low gas mileage

According to Luxe Digital, Rolls-Royce and Bentley are the top-selling — and most expensive — luxury vehicles on the road, with Aston Martin coming in a close third. Sure, they’re fancy rides, but they’re also notorious for having ridiculously low gas mileage.

Take, for instance, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. This ultra-luxe SUV comes with a range of opulent and high-performance features, such as double-paned window glass, a 563-hp twin-turbo 6.7-liter V12 engine, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite these upgrades — or perhaps because of them — the Cullinan gets an unimpressive 12 to 14 mpg. Phantom and Ghost models are equally as inefficient, Car and Driver reports.

If you think Bentley does better, think again. C/D describes the Continental as a turbocharged luxury subcompact that gets a wasteful 12 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

But you can find affordable used luxury cars

Not everyone can shell out the kind of cash required to purchase a pre-owned Bentley or Rolls. But many used luxury cars are affordable, U.S. News reports. Here are three:

2010 Acura RL

Ranked number one the year it came out, this large luxury car features first-class in-cabin electronics and all-wheel drive. It doesn’t come with a V8 engine, and its fuel economy isn’t great, but the 2010 Acura has excellent safety ratings and can be purchased for less than $13,000.

2011 Cadillac DTS

Spacious and comfortable, this Caddy comes with a beefy V8 and lots of cargo space. Like other luxury cars, this one ranks low for gas mileage but rates highly for reliability and safety. Expect to pay between $7,000 and $13,000 for a used Cadillac DTS.

2012 Infiniti M

Sporty and athletic, this Infiniti rates highly with car critics and drivers alike. It also gets better gas mileage than other cars on the list, with a reported 26 mpg on the highway. Notable for safety and reliability, this used car will set you back between $14,000 and $19,000.

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