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The Slowest- and Fastest-Selling Used Cars

By Julie Blackley

American vehicles and luxury SUVs are the slowest-selling used vehicles, while hybrid and electric vehicles are the fastest according to a new study by automotive research firm iSeeCars.com.

Analyzing over 4 million 1- to 3-year old used cars sold from January through July 2018, iSeeCars.com found that overall, the average late-model used car takes 46.4 days to sell. However, certain used vehicles remain on dealer lots for a longer period of time. In fact, the top 10 slowest-selling used cars remain on the market for 62.2 to 67.8 days, which is 32.9 to 44.8 percent longer than the average vehicle.

“It’s important to know how long vehicles stay on dealer lots because slower-moving cars can present negotiation opportunities for consumers,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “Cars that remain on market for longer than average indicate that supply is higher than demand, which could mean the pricing is too high or that the car isn’t as well-liked as its competitors.”

iSeeCars Slowest-Selling Late-Model Used Vehicles
Rank Model Days on Market (Avg.)
1 Porsche Cayenne 67.8
2 Buick Regal 67.6
3 Buick LaCrosse 67.5
4 Porsche 911 67.5
5 Land Rover Discovery Sport 66.1
6 Ford Flex 64.3
7 Cadillac XT5 64.2
8 Mazda CX-9 62.9
9 Ford Taurus 62.6
10 Lincoln MKX 62.2
Average for All Vehicles 46.4
Download Table

The slowest-selling used car is the Porsche Cayenne midsize SUV, which averages 67.8 days on the market. A second Porsche model, the 911, is the only sports car on the list and ranks fourth, remaining on dealer lots for 67.5 days. “A late-model used Cayenne is one of the most expensive used SUVs on the market with a price of $61,136, and a used 911 is the most expensive vehicle among those we analyzed at $122,124,” said Ly. “These are very high price points for used car shoppers, which could explain why dealers struggle to move them off the lot.”

A pair of Buick midsize sedans rank second and third with a narrow margin between them. The Buick Regal remains on the market for an average of 67.6 days, followed by the Buick Lacrosse, which remains for 67.5 days. “The extended time the Regal and LaCrosse spend on the market can be attributed to the rise in popularity of SUVs as well as the perception that plagues Buick as being a vehicle for older buyers,” said Ly.

Fifth on the list is the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which fails to stand out in the competitive luxury compact SUV segment and has earned below-average reliability ratings. “Although it’s Land Rover’s entry-level compact SUV, the Discovery Sport has a used car price of $36,827 making it one of the more expensive vehicles in its class,” Ly noted.

Two Fords make the list including the sixth-ranked Ford Flex and the ninth-ranked Ford Taurus. “The boxy Ford Flex has not been a strong seller for the automaker and its planned discontinuation for the 2020 model year shows that it doesn’t resonate with both new and used car shoppers,” said Ly. “The Taurus will also be discontinued in 2019, which is more evidence of the declining sedan segment.”

Lincoln, which is Ford’s luxury extension, also makes the list with the tenth-ranked Lincoln MKX. “The American-made MKX is competitively priced in the booming midsize luxury SUV segment, which suggests that luxury used car buyers might favor a more luxurious alternative with a nameplate they feel carries more prestige,” said Ly. “Although the MKX achieves some of the highest ratings among the vehicles in its class, it shows that while Lincoln’s reputation is improving, there is still a lot of room for growth.”

A second American luxury SUV makes the list, the Cadillac XT5 crossover, which stays on dealer lots for 64.2 days. “The XT5 debuted in the 2017 model year in the very competitive luxury crossover segment, and its appearance on the list shows that used car buyers likely favor foreign luxury models that have more established reputations,” said Ly.

The list’s lone Japanese model, the Mazda CX-9, appears in the eighth position. “While the CX-9 consistently earns favorable ratings, it’s a slow seller when purchased new likely because it’s one of the most expensive cars in its class,” said Ly. “It appears that used CX-9s echo that trend with an average used price of $27,513, which is more expensive than its competitors like the Ford Edge at $26,058 and also higher than some luxury SUVs like the Acura RDX, which is $26,803.”

Fastest-Selling Used Cars

iSeeCars also determined the late-model used cars that sell the quickest.  The top five vehicles of the top ten list are alternative-fuel vehicles, including three hybrids and two electric vehicles.

iSeeCars Fastest-Selling Late-Model Used Vehicles
Rank Model Days on Market (Avg.)
1 Toyota Prius C 29.6
2 Tesla Model S 32.4
3 BMW i3 33.4
4 Toyota Prius 33.4
5 Chevrolet Volt 34.3
6 Volkswagen Golf R 34.4
7 Honda Civic 34.7
8 Toyota Corolla 34.9
9 Honda Accord 35.5
10 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 36.0
Average for All Vehicles 46.4
Download Table

The fastest-selling used car is the Toyota Prius C, which is sold on average after 29.6 days a rate that is more than 58 percent quicker than the average vehicle. The Prius C is a smaller version of the standard Toyota Prius, which ranks fourth on the list.  “When buying a new car, hybrids on average are 20 percent more expensive than conventional gasoline-fuel cars so buying them used is an effective way to offset that added cost,” said Ly. “The performance of hybrid and electric cars, especially the Prius, has helped consumers abandon their initial concerns about battery life, and this perception change has contributed to the rising popularity of these vehicles.”

The Tesla Model S ranks second, spending an average 32.4 days on used car dealer lots. The limited supply of the Model S in the used car marketplace contributes to a fast selling time. “The Model S is currently the only all-electric luxury car available, and its demand outstrips supply leading to scarcity in the used-car marketplace,” said Ly. “Those who purchase a new model have to wait at least a month for delivery while there is no wait time for a used version.”

The BMW i3 plug-in hybrid ranks third, at 33.4 days. “The average price for a used late-model i3 is $23,964, while a new model averages at $53,503,” said Ly. “This nearly 55 percent price decrease provides consumers with a great deal while making it competitively priced in the luxury car segment.”

The electric Chevrolet Volt ranks as the fifth fastest-selling used car, remaining on the market for 34.3 days. “The average price of a new Volt is $37,825, while a late-model used version is $19,481,” said Ly. “Even with federal incentives, a new Volt is still on the expensive end of the sedan segment, while a used model brings the price down to under $20,000 to appeal to a broader range of consumers.”

Two sporty hatchbacks on both ends of the price spectrum also make the list. Ranked sixth and on the more expensive end is the Volkswagen Golf R hatchback, which boasts more power than the traditional Golf while offering all-wheel drive. “The Golf R is a higher-end version of the popular Golf that receives favorable reviews for its performance and criticism for its high price tag, which makes it a good car to buy used,” commented Ly. The Hyundai Veloster Turbo hatchback ranks tenth. “The Turbo model is a more powerful version on the Hyundai Veloster and has an average used car price of $16,127, which is nearly half the price of the Golf R,” said Ly.

Three of the nation’s most popular sedans rank in the seventh through ninth spots: the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Accord. “These vehicles consistently earn high reliability rankings and are among the best-selling new cars in the nation, which explains their continued success in the used marketplace,” said Ly.

Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Used SUVs

While six SUVs appear on the overall list of the slowest-selling used vehicles, they are noticeably absent from the fastest-selling list. iSeeCars found that the average used SUV sells after 47.9 days, and examined the list to determine the top 10 fastest- and slowest-selling late-model used SUVs.

Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Used SUVs
Fastest-Selling Used SUVs Slowest-Selling Used SUVs
Rank Model Days on Market (Avg.) Model Days on Market (Avg.)
1 Toyota RAV4 36.6 Porsche Cayenne 67.8
2 Honda CR-V 36.9 Land Rover Discovery Sport 66.1
3 Lexus RX 450h 37.9 Cadillac XT5 64.2
4 Lexus RX 350 38.5 Mazda CX-9 62.9
5 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 39.7 Lincoln MKX 62.2
6 INFINITI QX60 39.8 Buick Envision 59.5
7 Volkswagen Tiguan 41.5 Lincoln MKC 58.7
8 Mercedes-Benz GLC 41.5 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 57.9
9 Toyota 4Runner 42.5 Ford Edge 57.2
10 Jeep Cherokee 43.3 Lincoln Navigator 56.9
Average for all SUVs 47.9
Download Table

The fastest-selling SUV is the Toyota RAV4, which remains on the market for an average of 36.6 days. Fifth on the list is the hybrid version of the vehicle, which is typically sold after 39.7 days. “The RAV4 is consistently a top-seller in the new car segment, which explains why its standard and hybrid models are also popular among used car buyers,” said Ly. Another mainstay on the list of most popular new cars is the Honda CR-V, which ranks second at 36.9 days.

Four luxury SUVs made the fast-selling list including the third-ranked hybrid Lexus RX 450h, the fourth-ranked Lexus RX 350, the sixth-ranked INFINITI QX60, and the eighth-ranked Mercedes-Benz GLC. “Luxury SUVs depreciate quickly because of their high starting price and because they are most often leased,” said Ly. “Buying a late-model used luxury SUV, especially a Lexus which is known for reliability, affords the consumer with a good deal on a dependable vehicle.”

Adding to the two domestic SUVs on the overall slowest-selling used car list, five additional domestic SUVs make the list accounting for seven of the top 10.  

Ford Motor Company is the manufacturer with the most models on the slowest-selling SUV list with four including one Ford and three Lincolns. “Ford doesn’t have the strongest reliability ratings, which could be why its models don’t sell as quickly as its competitors in the SUV segment,” hypothesized Ly.

Ranking of Pickup Trucks

iSeeCars examined the list to determine the fastest- and slowest-selling used light-duty pickup trucks as compared to the average of 50.8 days that vehicles in this segment remain on the market.

Average # Days on Market for Pickup Trucks
Rank Model Days on Market (Avg.)
1 Honda Ridgeline 39.3
2 Toyota Tacoma 42.1
3 Toyota Tundra 46.6
4 Nissan Frontier 47.4
5 Nissan Titan XD 50.0
6 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 51.0
7 Ram Ram Pickup 1500 52.1
8 Chevrolet Colorado 52.5
9 Ford F-150 52.7
10 GMC Sierra 1500 52.7
11 GMC Canyon 53.7
12 Nissan Titan 58.3
Average for all Light-Duty Pickup Trucks 50.8
Download Table

The used pickup truck that sells the quickest is the Honda Ridgeline at 39.3 days. “The Honda Ridgeline differs from traditional trucks because it is built on a car platform, which appeals to people who want a smooth-riding truck for cargo purposes but don’t require heavy hauling capability,” said Ly. “It ceased production between 2014 and 2017, so there aren’t as many in the used car marketplace, which drives up demand.”

In addition to the Ridgeline, four additional pickups sell quicker than the 50.8 day average for the segment: the Toyota Tacoma, the Toyota Tundra, the Nissan Frontier, and the Nissan Titan XD.

The slowest-selling pickup truck is the Nissan Titan, which remains on used dealer lots for an average of 58.3 days. “The Titan’s reliability record lags behind its competitors, and its sales figures reflect that as well,” said Ly.

Slowest-Selling Used Cars Under $25,000

iSeeCars examined the list to determine the slowest-selling used cars for under $25,000, which present negotiation opportunities on more affordable vehicles than those that appear on the overall slowest-selling list.

Slowest-Selling Late-Model Used Vehicles Under $25,000
Rank Model Average # Days on Market
1 Buick Regal 67.6
2 Buick LaCrosse 67.54
3 Ford Taurus 62.6
4 Volvo S60 58.4
5 Cadillac ATS 58.3
6 FIAT 500X 57.9
7 FIAT 500 57.2
8 Lincoln MKZ 56.9
9 Chrysler 300 56.5
10 Dodge Grand Caravan 56.1
Average for all Vehicles 46.4
Similar to the overall slowest-selling list, the list is dominated by American vehicles, which comprise seven of ten of the vehicles on the list. The list also contains seven sedans with the exceptions of the Fiat 500x subcompact SUV, the Fiat 500 subcompact car, and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan.

Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars by State

iSeeCars incorporated statewide data to determine the fastest- and slowest-selling used vehicles in the 20 most populous states.

Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Used Cars by State
State Fastest-Selling Used Car Days on Market (Avg.) Slowest-Selling Used Car Days on Market (Avg.)
AZ BMW i3 27.5 Ford Edge 58.4
CA Tesla Model X 21.9 Fiat 500 71.1
FL Toyota Prius C 28.0 Porsche 911 65.9
GA Nissan Leaf 28.7 GMC Sierra 1500 59.3
IL Toyota Prius C 28.1 Buick LaCrosse 72.8
IN Honda Civic 38.3 Chrysler 300 67.8
MA Honda HR-V 31.6 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 63.2
MD Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 19.8 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 59.5
MI Hyundai Tucson 15.8 Buick LaCrosse 66.5
MO Toyota Prius 35.6 Ford Edge 65.3
NC Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 25.2 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 58.9
NJ Honda HR-V 32.5 Chrysler 200 69.7
NY Honda HR-V 30.6 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 67.0
OH Volkswagen Golf GTI 30.2 Buick LaCrosse 64.3
PA Toyota Yaris 31.2 Chevrolet Tahoe 62.2
TN Mazda Mazda3 30.8 Dodge Grand Caravan 57.4
TX Toyota Prius C 22.2 Lincoln MKX 61.9
VA Honda Civic 33.5 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 58.9
WA BMW i3 27.2 Chrysler 200 60.0
WI Toyota Prius 32.7 Chrysler 200 65.4
 

The Toyota Prius C and the Honda HR-V both appear three times on the fastest-selling list. “The Toyota Prius C is the fastest-selling used car on the national list, which shows that statewide data mirrors the national trend,” said Ly. “The HR-V narrowly missed the national top 10 list by ranking fourteenth, and its high ranking is unsurprising given that new car sales of the HR-V consistently outpaced projections leading to scarcity in the marketplace.”

Along with the Toyota Prius C, additional alternative-fuel vehicles are also popular on the fastest-selling list, with hybrids or electrics being the fastest-selling used vehicle in 11 states.  

Similar to the national ranking, American vehicles appear most often on the slowest-selling list comprising 17 of the 20 states sampled. Chrysler and Jeep tie as the automaker that appears most on the list with four, followed by Buick with three. When looking at individual models, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited appears most often as the slowest-selling used vehicle in four states. “Jeep doesn’t have a stellar reputation for safety, which explains why consumers may opt for a more reliable family-friendly SUV than the Wrangler Unlimited,” said Ly.

Fastest and Slowest-Selling Cars by Metro Area

iSeeCars examined the data across the country’s 20 largest metropolitan areas to determine the fastest- and slowest-selling used cars.

Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Used Cars by Metro Area
Metro Area Fastest-Selling Used Car Days on Market (Avg.) Slowest-Selling Used Car Days on Market (Avg.)
Atlanta, GA Nissan Leaf 29.7 Chevrolet Suburban 62.0
Boston, MA-Manchester, NH Honda HR-V 31.9 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 64.3
Chicago, IL Honda HR-V 35.5 Lincoln MKZ 61.4
Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH Hyundai Elantra 34.4 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 59.3
Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX Toyota Prius C 23.6 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 61.7
Denver, CO Mercedes-Benz CLA 29.9 Ford Edge 61.9
Detroit, MI Hyundai Tucson 12.7 Lincoln MKZ 60.0
Houston, TX Ford Fusion Energi 21.5 Cadillac ATS 53.9
Los Angeles, CA Chevrolet Bolt EV 18.6 Porsche 911 65.5
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL Toyota Corolla 31.1 Chrysler 200 60.8
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN Subaru Impreza 36.1 Dodge Grand Caravan 61.8
New York, NY Honda HR-V 28.4 Chrysler 200 67.0
Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL Toyota Prius C 23.4 Toyota Yaris 61.9
Philadelphia, PA Toyota Yaris 30.4 Acura MDX 61.4
Phoenix, AZ BMW i3 26.7 Ford Edge 54.6
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA GMC Yukon XL 24.6 Dodge Journey 55.3
San Francisco-Oakland

-San Jose, CA

Honda Accord Hybrid 24.7 BMW X1 53.3
Seattle-Tacoma, WA BMW i3 26.9 Chrysler 200 57.5
Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL Toyota Prius 19.2 Ford Edge 47.3
Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD) Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 20.6 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 52.1
 

Similar to the statewide list, the Honda HR-V is the fastest-selling used vehicle in the most metropolitan areas with three. Alternative-fuel vehicles comprise half the list with hybrids or electrics as the fastest-seller in 10 metropolitan areas.

Mirroring both the national and statewide rankings, American vehicles dominate the list of the slowest sellers in 15 of 20 metropolitan areas. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the Ford Edge tie as the slowest-selling used vehicle earning the distinction in three metro areas.

When buying a used car, it’s not only important to know how long a vehicle spends on dealer lots, but also understand the factors that could contribute to it being a fast- or slow-seller. “While cars that remain on dealer lots for an extended amount of time can provide leverage for a buyer to get a good deal, it’s also critical that consumers do the necessary research to understand why there isn’t a high demand for the car in the used marketplace,” said Ly.

When buying a used car, it’s not only important to know how long a vehicle spends on dealer lots, but also understand the factors that could contribute to it being a fast- or slow-seller. “While cars that remain on dealer lots for an extended amount of time can provide leverage for a buyer to get a good deal, it’s also critical that consumers do the necessary research to understand why there isn’t a high demand for the car in the used marketplace,” said Ly.

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 4 million used car sales from January through July 2018. The number of days that each car was listed for sale on iSeeCars.com was aggregated at the model level and used to estimate the average days on market for late model year vehicles (model years 2015 to 2017. Outlier data points were removed, as were models where we had less than 90% confidence that the averages were accurate to within +/- 2 days.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is an online car search engine that helps consumers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $165 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of cars and thousands of dealers. Based in the Boston area, iSeeCars.com was founded by former TripAdvisor and SAP executives determined to improve the car shopping experience for consumers.

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