Special Report

7 Car Brands That Cost Less Than They Used To

7. Cherokee
>1980-2014 (inflation-adj.) price pct. change: -6.8%
>1980 price: $8,959
>2014 U.S. sales: 178,508

Since it was introduced in 1974, Jeep’s Cherokee has gone through quite a few changes. Through 1983, the Cherokee was sold as a full-size SUV, but in 1984, Jeep introduced the model that would have the iconic Cherokee look. It was smaller and lighter, which may explain why the current model, adjusted for inflation, costs less than a Cherokee sold in 1980. Jeep stopped producing the model in 2001 only to reintroduce it after a long hiatus in 2013. In 1980, the price of a Cherokee was less than $9,000, which is equivalent to $25,739 in today’s dollars.

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6. 7 Series
>1980-2014 (inflation-adj.) price pct. change: -9.9%
>1980 price: $28,945
>2014 U.S. sales: 9,744

BMW has been producing its 7 Series line of full-size luxury sedans since 1977 and has manufactured a version of the car every year since. In 1980, an autobuyer could purchase a 4-door 733i for $28,945. A 740i 4-door purchased last year would have cost $83,195, roughly $46,000 more. However, adjusting for inflation, the 2014 model is actually about 10% cheaper than the 7 Series model 34 years ago.. The 7 Series is on its fifth generation, which debuted in 2009. BMW is set to launch the sixth generation soon.

5. 5 Series
>1980-2014 (inflation-adj.) price pct. change: -12.9%
>1980 price: $20,150
>2014 U.S. sales: 52,704

Like the 7 Series, the 5 Series has been part of BMW’s core line of vehicles since the 1970s. The 5 Series, while still a luxury car, is about $25,000 cheaper than the 7-series, with an MSRP of about $50,000 compared to the 7 Series’ MSRP of around $75,000. The 5 is also significantly cheaper than the version that was sold nearly 35 years ago, after accounting for inflation. In today’s dollars, a 1980 4-door 528i had a starting price of $57,891, roughly $7,500 more expensive than the 2014 equivalent. According to Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book, many luxury automakers have sought to make some models more affordable. This may be the reason the price of the 5 Series has fallen over time.

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