The Most Overpriced (and Underpriced) Cars of 2011
Those two factors are instrumental in these two groups of five cars: The first of which are less in-demand vehicles priced well above what people are willing to pay, and the second of which have consumers running for their checkbooks even when that means paying more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).
“The month of May was a perfect example of what’s going on,” says Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at analyst firm TrueCar.com. “It was a very slow month, with (U.S.) sales falling 3.7% to just over a million units. But at the same time, the average transaction price per car was at an all-time high of $29,900. People are still buying, and when they do they tend to go for smaller but highly contented and desirable cars.”
Toprak says that many buyers are downsizing out of large, well-appointed vehicles “but are insisting that the luxury and safety features they were used to in those cars be retained.” That often translates to heavily optioned cars that boost dealer profits, and aptly describes the five Asian-made cars that make up our list of under-priced cars.
But dealers with hot commodities aren’t the only winners in today’s climate. “Anyone who’s in the market for a large truck or SUV that isn’t that great on mileage is going to do very well,” says Toprak, neatly summarizing the following five vehicles — four American and one Japanese — that are overpriced in the face of slow demand:
1. Chevrolet Impala
Currently in its ninth generation, this legendary American nameplate isn’t moving consumers the way it did when it debuted in 1958 — as a two-door coupe with racy Corvette styling cues. These days, the rather bland-looking Impala is, for better or worse, most often seen in its police cruiser livery.
Base MSRP: $24,495
Average market value: $19,224
2. Ford Ranger
Despite decent gas mileage for a truck (22/27 mpg city/highway) pickup shoppers just aren’t willing to pay full sticker for the Ranger. According to Vincentric's raw data, which analyzes vehicles by trim level, five of the 16 vehicles on the list with the worst MSRP-to-market-value ratio are some form of the Ford Ranger.
Base MSRP: $19,075