Used Car Values

Figure the Used Car Cost
& Some Examples

Let's wrap it up and figure the dealers used car cost...
The 4th of 4 steps in the KBB used car values guide.

If you've made it this far in the used car values guide, then you know that we've covered quite a bit of information, sorry, but there is a lot to cover and saving $3,000, $4,000 or more than $5,000 will be well worth your small investment of time.

However, I've got some good news...We now get to figure the car dealers used car cost and I'm going to show you a few examples to help guide you through the process.

Here's an example of how we're going to use what we've learned up to this point. Using a 2006 Chevrolet Impala with a $12,000 wholesale blue book value as an example, we'll figure it was bought for $10,000 at the dealer auction...

Adds To Cost

  • add $150 for transportation
  • add $120 auction fee
  • add $120 per month for flooring (I'll assume one month here)
  • add $400 for reconditioning
  • add $700 for CPO inspection

and you come up with a grand total used car cost of $11,490, which is close to $500 back of book.

That Was Easy!

The real key here is to figure what the base cost of the car was when it was purchased. Of course, you'll have to have read the first three sections of the used car value guide to know how to do this.

Additional Tips and Factors
To Figure A Dealers Used Car Cost

Here we'll quickly touch on some vehicle specific things to keep in mind...We'll cover newer, older, imports, domestic, Jeeps, high end cars, cars in high demand and what about cars that are to new to have a blue book value.

Used Car
Costs For Imports

More specifically this applies to
Toyota, Honda and some Nissans:

Newer Imports
This applies to same model year up to one year old imports in good condition. They will usually sell for $1500 to $3000 back of "invoice." Miles are big factor here as well as the particular model.

This is true for mostly all Toyota's, Honda's and Nissan cars (not so much Nissan trucks).

Average Imports
This applies to vehicles in good condition and roughly 2-5 years old. These will sell at auction for $1000 over wholesale to $2000 back of wholesale (the newer the car the further back of book).

Older Imports
This applies to imports in good condition that are 5 years and older. These vehicles will sell for $500 over wholesale to $500 back of wholesale.

Imports Summary
Imports are in high demand and it's not uncommon for car dealers to buy them for over the wholesale value at the auction.

The older imports are more likely to be bought for over the wholesale value, because they are generally less expensive than the newer imports and therefore there is a larger resale market for the dealer.

Used Car
Costs For Domestics

These rules will typically apply to not only Chevy, Dodge, Ford, etc., but to Suzuki's, Mitsubishi's, Hyundai's & Kia's as well.

Newer Domestics
This applies to same model year up to one year old domestics in good condition. They will usually sell for $3500 to $6000 back of "invoice."

Average Domestics
This applies to domestics in good condition that are 5 years and older. These vehicles will sell for $500 to $2500 back of wholesale (the newer the car, the further back of book).

When these cars are selling for $500 it's usually because they are older and economy cars while gas prices are high. Outside of that most domestics will sell for $1500 back of book.

Older Domestics
This applies to domestics in good condition that are 5 years and older. These vehicles will sell for $500 to $1500 back of wholesale.

Domestics Summary
As you can see, there can be a rather significant difference in what a dealer buys an import car for vs. a domestic car. This is due to imports being in higher demand, less supply and smaller new car rebates (large rebates have a trickle down effect on used cars).

Used Car Values

The Jeep Difference...
Jeep's sort break the rules for domestic vehicles and will more often than not follow along very similar lines of the import cost factors. For older Jeeps, blue book value really doesn't play much of factor.

Higher End Vehicles
In general all high end vehicles will sell for well back of their wholesale blue book values. This applies to both import and domestic vehicles.

The bigger the original sticker price and the newer the vehicle the farther back of book they will sell for. This can be as far back of book as $10,000 to $15,000, or more, for these vehicles.

This is due to a lower demand and less customers having the ability to buy these vehicles.

Cars To New To Have A Wholesale Blue Book Value
In this case, you'll rely on the invoice to figure the used car cost. Applying what you've learned throughout this guide and from directly above, these vehicles will sell for 15% to 30% back of invoice.

Sometimes dealers buy these vehicles for up to 40% back of invoice, but I'd say 15-20% is about the norm. The very big exception to this is high demand vehicles.

For instance: When Toyota introduced the FJ Cruiser, these vehicles (used) were being bought by dealers for invoice to $2000 above invoice. The same is true, as of this writing, with the all new Chevy Camaro.


You've made it...Hey, no one said it would be easy, but as you can see it's well worth the small investment of time to learn this powerful information.

Understanding the used car values we've covered here in this guide will allow you to figure a dealers used car cost, which in turn will save you thousands when buying your next used car.

Now that you've mastered used car values
and figured a car dealers used car cost,
What would you like to do next?

< Go Back To Step 3
Your Local Market
|Back To The Start >
Used Car Invoice

Or you can...

Review the entire Used Car Values guide by returning from -
Used Car Values to the KBB Guide

Go to Insider Car Buying Tips home

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