Lot of comments on here over the past couple months on how horrendous the 2012 Focus depreciation is. Worse than any other car out there some have said. I really didn’t know either way so I decided to do a little market analysis with the only tools at my disposal, autotrader.com and truecar.com.
What I found is: No, the depreciation is generally no worse than its main competitors. BUT, that’s after accounting for the fact that the Focus appears to be the most highly discounted car out there.
So relative to MSRP, yes the Focus is worth far less than its competitors. But relative to the heavily discounted price most people paid for their Focus, they’re not much worse off, if at all, than they’d be with a competitor. And they could be much worse off (lookin’ at you Cruze).
And this only applies to the volume SE trim level – I did not look at deprecation of Titaniums. It may well be that the goodies in the higher trim levels depreciate faster than the base car.
Your market may be different of course. Of the 5 markets I looked at, Cleveland was relatively bad for the Focus (and Cruze) but the others were about average.
I used autotrader and truecar and looked at a 100-mile radius around 5 cities scattered throughout the country. I looked at the Focus’s main competition (in terms of a volume compact): Corolla, Civic, Cruze, and Elantra. For the pricing exercise, I tried to look only at the volume trim levels, i.e. the Focus SE, Corolla LE, Civic LX, Cruze 1LT, and Elantra GLS. I tried my hardest to ignore cars with extras other than auto tranny and alloy wheels.
Here’s a graph of number of cars on the market. Someone pointed out not long ago that if you search the entire country there are far more used Focuses on market than any other car. True, but in the 5 sample markets I looked at, that’s not true. There are generally no more Focuses on the market than the competition.
There must be a market out there somewhere that has tons of them, but I haven’t found it (though Cleveland is pretty high).
Here’s a graph of average discount off MSRP people have gotten from truecar.com data. The Focus discount is about double its competition. So while folks may be getting less than the competition at trade in, that’s generally because they paid less than the competition to begin with.
Here’s a graph of one quasi measure of depreciation. I looked at the average asking prices for the volume trim level on autotrader.com and compared it to the average price paid for the volume trim level according to truecar.com. Except for the Cleveland area, the Focus has depreciated very little compared to the competition on this measure.
This tells me that assuming any dealer will pay to you for trade in roughly the same margin under what they’ll ask for it on the market regardless of the car, the Focus is doing well compared to its competition.
And finally here’s a graph of KBB trade-in value compared to the average price paid for the volume trim level according to truecar.com. As you can see the Focus is right in line with the foreign competition
, with the Cruze performing particularly poorly on this measure.
Here’s a sample of my raw data table if you want to get a feel for how I went about it.