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Subcompacts take big hit on resale price

July 15, 2016
Subcompact cars have seen some big drops in resale value, a new study found, despite consumer demand for fuel efficient cars.
Subcompact cars fell 26.1 percent in value during the past year, the biggest one-year drop of any vehicle segment in the past decade except for 2008, the year the nation’s gas prices spiked above $4 a gallon in many regions, said analytic firm Black Book.
Subcompacts include the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Kia Soul, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Spark.
With the nation’s gas prices low, the outlook is pretty grim. Anil Goyal, senior vice president for Black Books, predicts small cars are going to continue to lose value over the next three years. Even as subcompacts’ popularity ebbs, he said shoppers still want their next vehicle purchase to be as fuel efficient as possible despite low gas prices.
"Smaller cars are less in demand and the bigger vehicles are more in demand," said Goyal.
Yet a Consumer Reports survey finds that motorists still feel strongly about the need to have cars with good gas mileage. The survey of 1,052 adults in May found 84 percent of those surveyed feel fuel efficiency is important and 73 percent believe the government should continue to mandate gas mileage goals. 
Some 60 percent say they are willing to pay more for a fuel-efficient vehicle if they can recoup the higher gas in five years through fuel savings. The survey has an estimated error rate of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
"Consumers want cars that don’t drain their pocketbook — either through costly repairs or guzzling gasoline," said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union, in a statement.
But Goyal said car buyers are putting a higher priority on overall value when they buy a new car rather than fuel economy.