Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW

A used car can now cost you more than a new one

Amanda Peacher Jul 12, 2021
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Availability is part of the equation that has boosted the prices of some used-car models. Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

A used car can now cost you more than a new one

Amanda Peacher Jul 12, 2021
Heard on:
Availability is part of the equation that has boosted the prices of some used-car models. Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

When the consumer price index comes out Tuesday, we’ll get new numbers on everything from food and beverages to clothing and used cars. And on that front, there’s a quirk.

Some models are so popular that used cars are selling for more than this year’s release off the assembly line. An analysis of car prices by the website iSeeCars showed that 16 models of 2019 vehicles were more expensive than their new counterparts in June.

Geoffrey Koch was shopping for used cars in Nashville, Tennessee, after his ‘99 Honda Civic kicked the bucket last year. He said he has great credit, so “I’m like, I am surely just going to get the deal of the century. It’s going to be great,” he said.

Koch strolled into car dealerships ready to pay about $15,000. But then he saw the sticker prices.

“You can’t really get, like, an awesome car even for 15 grand,” he said.

There’s a simple reason for that. “Demand is huge, supply is low,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst with iSeeCars. 

New-car buyers might have to wait two or three months. Meanwhile, the 2019 model could be right there on the lot. 

“Even if it’s slightly more expensive than the new one, you can drive away with it today,” he said.

Brauer said if shoppers can wait, they should. That’s what Koch is going to do. 

“If I’m going to be dropping a lot of money, it’s going to be what I want,” he said. Koch added that he’s going to share his girlfriend’s car until he saves up a bit more. 

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.