’13 Wrangler resale value predicted to top its category

Jeep Wranglers are lined up at the Chrysler Toledo Assembly Complex.
Jeep Wranglers are lined up at the Chrysler Toledo Assembly Complex.

Paced by the Toledo-built Wrangler, resale values of new Jeep models are expected to be among the highest of any brand in the coming five years, according to projections released Monday by a leading auto-valuation service.

Kelley Blue Book awarded the 2013 Wrangler first in the compact sport utility vehicle/crossover category and third overall in its annual best resale value ranking, forecasting the brawny SUV to hold 68 percent of its purchase price after three years and 55 percent after five years.

“The Wrangler is just such an iconic vehicle. It has retained its value so well over the years,” said Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting at Kelley Blue Book. “I think part of the appeal is there really isn’t another vehicle like it — the one that comes closest probably is the Toyota FJ Cruiser — and because there’s nothing else that satisfies the market need for a vehicle like that, I think the Wrangler does very well.”

Kelley Blue Book ranked vehicles in 22 categories this year, including hybrids, sports cars, minivans, and luxury cars. The company figures its projected resale values after five years by using data from dealer auctions, consumer sales, economic expectations, and other factors including market condition and segment competition.

The Wrangler lost hold of its No. 1 overall rank from last year, but it was through no fault of its own — the Jeep’s five-year residual value was actually a half-percentage point higher. Instead, big gains by two Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles bumped the Wrangler down two spots.

The Japanese automaker's retro-inspired FJ Cruiser took No. 1 and its Tacoma pickup truck was No. 2. The Toyota 4-Runner and Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs also made the top 10 list. The Wrangler was the only car from a U.S. brand to make the overall top 10, although the Chevrolet Camaro V6 and SS, Ford Fusion hybrid, and Chevrolet Volt were also named tops in their respective categories.

Though Toyota has been marred recently by several large recalls, including those for unintended acceleration, and was beaten up by the 2010 tsunami, it still widened its hold on the title for best brand resale value, retaining a projected 44 percent of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price after five years.

“Toyota's values today seem to be unaffected by the recall issues they had, in spite of the fact they testified in front of Congress and it was broadcast live” Mr. Ibara said. “Their models and their brand have survived quite well.”

Rounding out the top three brands for best resale value were Lexus (43.7 percent after five years) and Honda (43.2 percent after five years.)

As a brand, Jeeps are expected to retain 44.3 percent of their original value after five years, but a Kelley Blue Book spokesman said the brand wasn’t eligible for an award because it was a sub brand of Chrysler Group LLC, and because brands need to compete in four separate segments to qualify for the brand award.

Jeep only competes in two, the spokesman said.

Award or not, dealers say used Jeeps remain a hot commodity.

“The Jeep products as a whole hold their value pretty well,” said Michael Barchick, vice president and general manager at Charlie's Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Maumee. “Probably if you contacted every dealer in town you’d get the same response: It always has and it probably always will.”

Mr. Barchick said part of the reason used Wranglers hold their value so well goes simply to the laws and of supply and demand. The Toledo plant, the only place Wranglers are made, has been running at full capacity for some time.

“They can only make so many and as a result of that it helps them hold their values as they do,” he said.

Kelley Blue Book said the average new car in 2013 will retain 38.2 percent of its original value after five years of ownership. Trucks are expected to hold their value better than cars.

In a separate ranking announced Monday, ALG Inc. released its annual residual values awards, naming Honda the No. 1 brand in resale value, followed by Hyundai and Scion. ALG bases its rankings on a three-year ownership period.

An ALG spokesman said the Wrangler wasn't ranked in the top three within its compact utility vehicle segment, trailing the Toyota FJ Cruiser, the Honda CR-V, and the new-for-2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek.

“The FJ Cruiser continues to provide excellent utility, reliability, and off-road performance,” ALG president Larry Dominique said in a statement. “A first-time Residual Value Award recipient, the Toyota FJ Cruiser’s retro look and cult following have generated consistently healthy used-market values.”

AGL didn't release projected resale percentages to go with its rankings.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.