Prices for both new and used vehicles are rising at an alarming rate. In fact, car prices are some of the fastest rising components of the consumer price index. Those who own cars that are reliable may postpone their new car purchase, and the best used car brand in America is Lexus. (And this is the best selling car of 2022.)
Why do car prices keep rising? Supply chain shortages, particularly for the microchips used in vehicle electronics and navigation systems, have curtailed the rate at which cars can be manufactured. General Motors CEO Mary Barra recently said chip shortages will last well into next year. The problem is severe enough that some assembly lines have been taken offline. Buyers can wait months for the models that they want.
Car dealers have taken advantage of the situation, and some charge more than the manufacturer’s suggested price. This has angered car companies, which have even threatened to withhold inventory to penalize these dealers.
As new car prices rise, people have turned to used cars as an alternative. As is true with most cases of supply and demand, this has pushed used car prices higher as well. Some consumers have decided the price for both new and used cars is too high. They have elected to hold their vehicles for another year or two. The average age of a car on the road in America has risen to 12 years. (This is the longest lasting car on the road.)
Used car quality studies are not as readily available as those of new cars. However, a recent Consumer Reports “How to Find the Best Used Car at the Right Price” study looked at cars, sport utility vehicles and light trucks from the 2017 model year. This period was chosen so that potential buyers could look at vehicles after five years of depreciation.
The primary metric Consumer Reports used was “reliability.” This was determined by a combination of fuel economy, repair history, customer satisfaction and the safety systems for each model. Safety features included forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning.
The study then rated brands, giving them a score on a scale of 100 to zero, based on the reliability of the evaluated models of each brand. To find the best used car in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Consumer Reports study and listed the brands by their reliability score, from the lowest to the highest.
The highest rated brand was Lexus, the luxury car brand of Toyota. It received a score of 91, based on the individual rating of five of its models.
GMC, the poorest performing brand, received a score of only 26, based on data for seven of its models.
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