Foresight For 2020: Noted ‘blue book’ publisher names top new-car choices for maintaining worth five years down the road

Kelley Blue Book picked the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro as top sports car in expected resale value after five years ownership. The vehicle valuation company named 22 models in its annual resale awards, with GM brands topping the list of domestic models (Provided).

Lexus and Subaru offer the best 2015 lineups in terms of holding value going forward, but domestic companies — particularly General Motors — gained rapidly.

Those are findings from Kelley Blue Book’s annual Best Resale Value Awards released late last week.

“Lexus notably captured the top luxury brand honors for the fourth year in a row,” said Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting for Kelley Blue Book.

“After previously winning the brand award in 2011, Subaru is back on top again for 2015 as the best mainstream brand for resale value across its entire lineup,” he said.

Ibara noted that both Subaru and Lexus “deliver incredible resale value.” At the same time, Toyota scored with individual models and GM brands Chevrolet and GMC stood out.

“We also are impressed with the strides made by General Motors, which tops domestic automakers with seven combined awards for Chevrolet and GMC,” the director said.

All the new-car brands cited in the information researcher’s report can be purchased at Charleston area dealerships.

Pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers dominate the top 10 list of best resale value vehicles, Ibara said, calling the results “a testament to the strength these categories will carry in the future.”

Launched for the 2003 model year, Kelley Blue Book’s awards for best resale value are based on projections from the company’s Official Residual Value Guide.

Kelley Blue Book said low-volume vehicles and vehicles with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $60,000 are excluded from award consideration except in the plug-in vehicle, luxury and high-performance categories.

Most car buyers today consider sticker price one of the most significant numbers when choosing a new vehicle, but shoppers should also look at the resale value, editors of the company’s online website said.

They note that depreciation, or a property’s decline in value over time, can be the greatest expense that drivers face in the first five years of vehicle ownership.

The editors said a 2015 model-year vehicle on average will retain 38.2 percent of its original value after a five-year ownership period, meaning that a $50,000 new car today will only be worth about $19,100 by 2020.

A vehicle’s resale value is largely based on supply and demand and on market conditions and projections, the editors pointed out. But cars and trucks that retain their value best are typically discounted the least and tend to be of extra interest to consumers.

“Most options and packages added to a vehicle do not necessarily increase its resale value,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

“However, there are exceptions to the rule, such as a high-performance engine or a performance package in a sports car,” he said.

Nerad also cited regional preferences.

“In the colder sections of the country, a two-wheel drive vehicle’s resale value often will not be as high as a four-wheel or all-wheel drive version of that same model,” he said.

“In warmer climates, black (or dark-colored) cars will not have as high resale value as they could command in other regions.”

What follows is a complete list of the Kelley Blue Book awards, including top brands.

Subcompact Car — Honda Fit

Compact Car — Subaru Impreza

Sporty Compact Car — Subaru WRX

Mid-Size Car — Subaru Legacy

Full-Size Car — Dodge Charger

Entry-Level Luxury Car — Lexus RC 350

Luxury Car — Lexus GS 350

High-End Luxury Car — Lexus LS 460

Sports Car — Chevrolet Camaro V-6

High Performance Car — Chevrolet Corvette

Hybrid/Alternative Energy Car — Toyota Camry Hybrid

Plug-In Vehicle — Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Compact SUV/Crossover — Jeep Wrangler

Mid-Size SUV/Crossover — Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Full-Size SUV/Crossover — Chevrolet Suburban

Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover — Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Luxury Mid-Size SUV/Crossover — Lexus GX 460

Luxury Full-Size SUV/Crossover — Lexus LX 570

Hybrid SUV/Crossover — Lexus RX 450h

Mid-Size Pickup Truck — Toyota Tacoma

Full-Size Pickup Truck — Toyota Tundra

Minivan/Van — Toyota Sienna

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or