Calling a car or truck an appreciating asset is usually an oxymoron unless you're talking about collectibles such as a first-generation Ford Bronco or a third-generation Mazda RX-7.
Or a 2015 Nissan Leaf.
Indeed, the electric vehicle that has exemplified plummeting value in recent years has finally stopped its depreciation plunge. According to J.D. Power and Associates, 2015 Leaf wholesale prices are about 1 percent higher than they were a year ago. It's just 1 percent, but still.
"So from a consumer standpoint, that means they have an appreciating asset," said Larry Dixon, J.D. Power senior director of valuation services. "That's quite extraordinary."
Dixon said the Leaf's annual depreciation rate has been in the 25 to 30 percent range.
"Now we have prices up for the first time ever," he said.
2015 Nissan Leafs have retained 30 percent of the originally equipped sticker price this year, up from 23 percent last year, according to J.D. Power, which focuses on 3-year-old vehicles when calculating retention values.
Other used EVs are showing a similar trend in prices or retained value improvements, Dixon said.
Fiat 500e retention is at 21 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 18 percent a year ago; Chevrolet Spark EV value retention is 25 percent this quarter, vs. 21 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The Spark EV's wholesale prices are also up 10 percent year over year. Dixon said volumes on the Ford Focus EV were too low to cite, but trends indicate that prices and retained value have firmed up for that car as well.
According to Black Book, which weighs 2016 models to gauge three-year retention, the retention value of used EVs this year is about 38 percent, vs. 21 percent a year ago.