Subaru has taken top honors in Kelley Blue Book's resale value rankings for the 2011 model year, edging out Lexus, Toyota and Honda brands. Two domestic truck brands also are in the top 10 rankings.
Kelley predicts that 2011 Subaru cars and trucks will retain an average of 39.0 percent of their sticker price after five years, up 2.4 percentage points from last year for 2010 models.
Kelley said Subaru came in at No. 1 because it had successfully aligned production with demand, kept lease levels low and produced high-quality, well-designed vehicles.
Eric Ibara, director of residual consulting for Kelley, said that while both Toyota and its upscale sibling, Lexus, had a difficult year related to massive recalls, Toyota's decline was mostly related to lower predicted resale values for its small, fuel-efficient vehicles.
That segment is expected to be flooded over the next three to five years as automakers work to meet stricter fuel economy rules. Lexus' decline is attributable to aging products and its HS 250h hybrid car which dropped eight percentage points from last year to 34 percent.
“Subaru has the Impreza, but they don't have a hybrid and they don't have a subcompact car, which both Toyota and Honda do,” Ibara said.
Kelley released its resale brand rankings as part of its 2011 residual value analysis.
Ibara said Kelley bases its rankings on residual values after five years of ownership because that best reflects the ownership span of a new vehicle.
Average residuals rise
The average 2011 model vehicle is projected to retain 34.0 percent of its value after five years, up 1.4 percentage points from the average 2010 model, the analysis said.
The hybrid/alternative-fuel vehicle segment, which includes neither the electric Nissan Leaf nor the plug-in Chevrolet Volt, has a projected residual value of 34.0 percent after five years, a decline of 2.4 percentage points. Resale values for the Leaf and Volt will be released early next year, Ibara said.
Last year, Lexus led the study. Its projected 2011 residual value of 36.4 percent after five years represents a 2.9 percentage point decline from last year. BMW is the top luxury brand with a projected resale value of 37.1 percent after five years, a 0.1 percentage point drop from last year.
Toyota's projected 2011 residual value of 38.5 percent is a 0.3 percentage point decline.
Honda's projected residual value of 38.2 percent is a 0.2 percentage point increase. That number reflects residuals across the brand's lineup. The Honda CR-V had the highest projected residual value of any single nameplate, at 46.8 percent after five years.
New to the top 10 brand rankings at No. 5 is GMC, with a projected average resale value of 36.7 percent after five years. Jeep is No. 8 with a projected resale value of 36.3 percent, up from 35.7 percent, which had placed it at No. 7 in last year's ranking.
Ibara said dropping weaker brands helped lift resale values for General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. GM dropped or sold Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and Saab, and Ford is winding down Mercury.
“In general,” Ibara said, “the residual values for the vehicles in those brands were lower than the averages for the rest of the lineup for that manufacturer.”