Residual values for new SUVs are rising despite high gasoline prices, a new study says.
Black Book predicts that 2008 model large SUVs, as a segment, will be worth 48.6 percent of their sticker prices after three years. That is 4.4 percentage points more than the used-vehicle guide's prediction for comparable 2007 models.
Mid-sized SUVs also are gaining value, the study says.
Black Book projects that vehicles in the segment will hold 51.5 percent of their sticker prices after three years, 3.6 percentage points more than 2007 mid-sized SUVs.
Black Book Managing Editor Ricky Beggs said some consumers who dumped their SUVs two years ago when gasoline prices rose to $3 a gallon are returning to the segment. Many say they need SUVs to haul boats or trailers, he said.
"They got rid of that vehicle and then said, 'Whoa, I need that functionality back,' " Beggs told Automotive News.
Higher residual values encourage automakers to offer lower monthly lease payments for new vehicles.
Beggs said Black Book bases residual values on such factors as wholesale market trends, vehicle condition, mileage and segment sales volume.
Black Book projects that 2008 minivans will retain 41.2 percent of their initial value, measured by sticker price, after three years. That estimate is up 7.8 percentage points from the guide's prediction for 2007 minivans.
By contrast, Black Book estimates that 2008 near-luxury cars will retain 49.6 percent of their value after three years, down 1.1 percentage points from last year's projection for the segment.
Beggs said uncertainties in the stock market are affecting high-income vehicle buyers.