Deals on Excess 2018 New Car Inventory

By Julie Blackley

August marks the time of year when car dealers start to debut their newest vehicles, which makes discounts on the previous year’s inventory more likely. However, even as 2020 model year vehicles are introduced, dealers are still tasked with selling a supply of new vehicles from the 2018 model year in order to make room for new inventory. These 2018 vehicles provide opportunities for shoppers to get a good deal on a new vehicle.

iSeeCars looked at its national inventory of over 2 million new cars for sale and found that only 4.0 percent are from the 2018 model year. However, several vehicles that have introduced their 2020 models have much more inventory from the 2018 model year available. The top 10 list is dominated by SUVs, which account for seven vehicles on the list.

iSeeCars New Vehicles with the Highest 2018 Inventory
Rank Vehicle % 2018 Inventory 
1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 19.5%
2 Jeep Wrangler 16.8%
3 Porsche Macan 15.3%
4 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 12.5%
5 Dodge Durango 12.5%
6 Chrysler Pacifica 9.6%
7 Chevrolet Malibu 8.7%
8 Ford EcoSport 8.4%
9 Jeep Compass 7.7%
10 Kia Optima 7.1%
Overall Average 4.0%
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“A surplus of vehicles from the 2018 model year might remain on dealer lots because a car’s popularity is declining, because the vehicle’s price has increased, because car buyers want to wait for an upcoming redesign, or because dealers simply have too much inventory,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “Consumers might not be aware that these cars are available and that they can present great savings opportunities.”

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the classic Jeep Wrangler comprise the top two spots on the list, each with more than four times the average amount of 2018 model year inventory. “Jeep’s Wrangler Unlimited and Wrangler models were redesigned in 2018, and with that redesign came respective $3,550 and $3,950 price increases,” said Ly. “Despite these vehicles hitting record sales numbers, there is a surplus because too many were produced in Fiat Chrysler’s Ohio plant, which had double the capacity of the previous design’s plants.”

In an attempt to move these 2018 Jeep Wranglers off the lots, dealers are offering generous incentives. As an example, a Jeep dealer lists a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with a $7,000 savings off MSRP in addition to a $1,000 cash allowance for shoppers to put toward their vehicle purchase.

Ranked third as the only luxury vehicle on the list is the Porsche Macan SUV. “The Macan is Porsche’s most popular model, and it was refreshed for the 2019 model year so buyers might have held off on buying the 2018 version for that reason,” said Ly. “Changes include a new single-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 in place of a twin-turbo V-6 with improved horsepower and torque, which are important features for Porsche drivers.” Dealers are offering incentives to get rid of 2018 Porsche models including $7,900 off MSRP and 1.9% financing to qualified buyers, which is nearly half the average interest rate.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross compact SUV, ranked fourth, and the Ford Ecosport subcompact SUV, ranked eighth, were both introduced in the 2018 model year. “These vehicles debuted in 2018, and new buyers likely passed on these model in favor of established models,” said Ly. Examples of current incentives for these vehicles include a $3,500 customer rebate on the Eclipse Cross in addition to a $6,000 savings off MSRP.

A pair of rugged SUVs also make the list--the fifth-ranked Dodge Durango and the ninth-ranked Jeep Compass. “With above-average cargo capacity and a powerful engine, the Dodge Durango is an attractive family SUV for those who want the brawn of a truck, although it has below-average J.D. Power reliability scores,” said Ly. “The Jeep Compass is praised for its off-road capabilities and luxurious interior, but has a below-average reliability rating like the Durango.” Current incentives for the Durango include $6,400 off MSRP and a $500 cash allowance.

Ranked sixth as the only minivan on the list is the Chrysler Pacifica. “The Chrysler Pacifica earns praise as a top choice in the minivan segment and its new 2018 version is priced $5,000 less than its 2020 version and shoppers can likely negotiate even larger discounts,” said Ly. “It doubled its sales when it was introduced in 2017 to replace the aging Town & Country, and perhaps its sales in 2018 didn’t grow as much as anticipated.”

A pair of midsize sedans round out the list--the seventh-ranked Chevrolet Malibu and the tenth-ranked Kia Optima. “The surplus of 2018 Chevrolet Malibu and Kia Optima can be attributed to the declining popularity of sedans,” said Ly. “The Malibu earns praise as a good choice for an affordable vehicle while the Optima is among one of the most favorably reviewed vehicles in its class.” Advertised deals on a new 2018 Kia Optima includes over $6,000 off MSRP.

Discontinued Vehicles with the Most 2018 Surplus

iSeeCars examined vehicles that are no longer in production to determine the vehicles with the most 2018 inventory.

“Cars become discontinued because of low demand, which doesn’t necessarily mean they are low-quality vehicles,” said Ly. “In the case of these cars, it’s because of the declining popularity of the sedan segment, which means that they could still be suitable cars for buyers who aren’t interested in SUVs or trucks.”

iSeeCars Discontinued New Vehicles with the Highest 2018 Inventory
Rank Vehicle % 2018 Inventory
1 Ford Taurus 52.9%
2 Cadillac ATS 22.3%
3 Chevrolet Cruze 17.0%
4 Chevrolet Volt 14.6%
5 Ford Fiesta 6.6%
6 Ford Fusion Hybrid 6.1%
7 Ford Fusion 4.6%
Overall Average 4.0%
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The vehicle with the most 2018 inventory on dealer lots is the Ford Taurus, which has 13 times more 2018 inventory than the average vehicle. It’s joined by three additional Ford vehicles including the fifth-ranked subcompact Ford Fiesta, the sixth-ranked midsize Ford Fusion Hybrid, and its gasoline variant, the seventh-ranked midsize Ford Fusion. “Ford discontinued its passenger cars due to decreased demand and declining profits,” said Ly. “However, these cars are known for their adept handling and ample cargo room, making them attractive cars for those looking for a deal on a sedan.” A new Ford Taurus from the 2018 model year can be found with up to $10,000 off MSRP.

Ranked second is the Cadillac ATS compact luxury car. “The Cadillac ATS sedan was discontinued in 2018, while the Coupe was discontinued in 2019,” said Ly. “The ATS is praised for its handling and powerful engine, which could make it a great deal for someone looking for a small luxury vehicle that’s fun to drive.”

A pair of Chevrolets make the list including the third-ranked Chevrolet Cruze compact car and the Chevrolet Volt compact electric car. “The Cruze boasts an excelled J.D. Power reliability rating and ranked among the top in its vehicle class, but it was a casualty of the slowing sedan segment,” said Ly. “ Chevrolet discontinued the Volt, the first mass-market plug-in electric vehicle with a devoted following, in order to focus on its SUVs, trucks, and all-electric vehicles.”

“It’s important that consumers be aware that 2018 new vehicles are still for sale and can provide them with significant savings off the sticker price,” said Ly. “Consumers who want a good deal on a new car should consider these vehicles, and specifically the models on these lists because dealers want to push their 2018 models off the lot and will be more open to negotiation.”

Methodology analyzed over 2 million new cars listed for sale as of August 19, 2019.  The share of each model from the 2018 model year was used to rank them.  Low-volume models and heavy-duty trucks and cars were excluded from further analysis. For the top 10 list of New vehicles with the Highest 2018 Inventory, only vehicles in production as of the 2020 model year with new cars from that model year for sale were included. For the list of Discontinued New Vehicles with the Highest 2018 Inventory, only vehicles which were already discontinued as of the 2019 or 2020 model year were included.