For most people, a house and a car are the two most expensive items that they will ever buy. Most of the time, though, houses appreciate in value. Taking out a mortgage is an investment in the future, and it’s widely considered to be a good kind of debt to have. Other than a few examples here and there, cars do the exact opposite. Because they depreciate so quickly, new cars have to be treated more like an expense than an investment. Not all cars depreciate at the same rate though, and buying one with low depreciation can save buyers money in the long run.
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect a car to lose half of its value in the first three years and two-thirds of its value in the first five years. While exact depreciation numbers can be difficult to predict, the more demand there is for a vehicle on the used car market, the less it will depreciate. Just because predicting resale value is difficult though doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Companies like TrueCar and Edmunds employ analysts to do exactly that, and when it comes to the 2015 Ford F-150, the analysts from TrueCar’s ALG division expect to see a major jump in its resale value.
Specifically, ALG expects the 2015 F-150’s resale value to jump 11.5% over the 2014 model. While the previous year’s F-150 could be expected to hold 52% of its original value, the completely redesigned 2015 version should retain 58% of its original value. The Toyota Tundra still has the highest resale value in the class, retaining 63% of its value after three years, but the Ford F-150 tops the list for American trucks. For comparison, both the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado come in at 51%, while the Ram 1500 comes in at 46%, and the Nissan Titan finishes out the list at 42%.
The 2015 F-150’s aluminum construction had some people worried that increased repair costs would drive up insurance rates and subsequently lower resale value. ALG doesn’t see that being a problem just yet though.
“We are not putting in a negative adjustment for concerns around repair costs or durability associated with aluminum,” said Eric Lyman, ALG’s vice president of industry insights. He then added, “We are giving credit for the aluminum construction in the fuel efficiency we’re seeing.”
That aluminum construction contributes to a nearly 700 pound weight loss versus the previous generation. While slimming down helped with how the truck handles and accelerates, it also significantly helped fuel efficiency. Depending on the engine, the model, and the level of equipment, the 2015 F-150 gets 5% to 29% better fuel economy than the previous model. Buyers who opt for the 2.7 liter Ecoboost V6 get the most fuel efficient full size truck on the market, with an EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon on the highway. That improved fuel economy is largely responsible for the F-150’s improved resale value.
Cost of ownership is going to have a big effect on how accurate these predictions end up being though.
“The jury is still out with regards to what the final tally will be for fleet operators and owners of the F-150,” Lyman said. “All reports indicate that yes, there will be some higher costs. If that’s going to be offset with greater efficiency in the vehicle, it is ultimately something we’ll have to see once the vehicle is in a real-world scenario.”
While the F-150’s fuel economy might not sound quite as impressive now that small cars are getting highway numbers in the 40s without the help of hybrid technology, it’s important to remember that it wasn’t that long ago that family sedans were much less efficient. For example, the 2.7 liter Ecoboost F-150 gets the same highway mileage as a 2007 Honda Accord V6. The F-150’s improved efficiency might not quite make it an economy car, but compared to a lot of fairly recent cars, it may as well be.
That’s a good thing too, since gas prices may be low now, but they won’t stay this low forever. People are buying pickup trucks left and right these days, and while $3.50 gas isn’t unmanageable in a 26 mile per gallon vehicle, driving something that only gets 12-13 miles per gallon would be a lot less affordable. Hopefully gas prices take a while to get back that high, but if they don’t, F-150 drivers can rest assured that it won’t completely wreck their resale value.
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