Paying Attention to Model Cycles Can Save You Big Money

Buying a used car isn’t the only way you can benefit when purchasing a vehicle. Buyers that stay informed on model cycles can also save a lot of money. Not everyone understands how automotive model cycles work. What’s the difference between a refresh and a redesign anyway? Knowing the differences will save you a lot of money and help you know the right time to shop for your next car purchase

2019 Honda Pilot Elite
2019 Honda Pilot Elite | Honda

What is the model cycle? 

Most vehicles will get a full redesign every four to six years. The cycle can sometimes be longer, and you may see a few models that get a refreshed look with new technology added to stay competitive. A model cycle is typical in the automotive industry and something that every automaker has some version of. 

Refresh vs. Redesign

A refresh typically includes smaller updates to keep the vehicle competitive within the market. This will include things like minor new features, technology upgrades, headlights, or new paint color options. These changes are aesthetically pleasing and user friendly for the buyer but don’t typically reflect significant changes to performance or styling.  

A redesign is more than making a few changes to an existing vehicle. A redesigned vehicle means it is entering a new generation. This will include significant changes, such as a new engine or new features not found existing in previous generations. In this cycle, you can expect to see new trim levels, styling changes to the interior and exterior, and engine upgrades. 

Should you wait for a new generation? 

You will know which vehicles are about to be refreshed or redesigned when you stay informed of model cycles. You can get significant savings by purchasing a previous generation soon after a new generation hits the market. If you aren’t paying attention, you could end up paying too much for a vehicle that is just about to release a new generation. Since this will cause further depreciation, it can affect your resale values as well.  

The model cycle can make a difference in resale values

Roush Ford F-150 Tactical Edition side
Roush Ford F-150 Tactical Edition side | Roush

Resale value is another reason to look at the model cycle. If you can afford to wait on buying a new generation, you’ll save on the initial purchase price. You’ll also see a substantially better profit margin on its resale value. This will likely afford you to upgrade to a newer vehicle sooner.  

Within the first three years, some vehicles can lose a large percentage of their value while others don’t lose much. It is essential to be aware that some cars retain their value longer. Toyota Rav 4, Ford F-150, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot are examples of vehicles that keep their value longer.

Staying updated on vehicle trends and model cycles may be new for some but isn’t as tricky as it may seem. Begin by searching for the make and model of the vehicle you are most interested in. Automotive publications will release this info on their websites and social media accounts well in advance of the car being available at a dealership. 


2020 Toyota Highlander
2020 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

Buying a previous generation allows a buyer to make a more informed decision. When a new generation is released, there is less information and more likelihood for a recall since everything is new. Buying an older model allows you a better chance of knowing what to expect because there are more sources for information and data in the industry on that model. 

Paying attention to model cycles can save you money and help you get a lot more of what you want in a vehicle. You will also have access to more information on the car, which will save you additional money in repairs and resale value down the road. With a little research and insight, you can look like a car buying expert.