Welcome to Depreciation Appreciation! Every month, your pals at autoTRADER.ca dig up an instance of how depreciation can make for an extraordinary used-car deal.
Usually in this monthly feature, we look to the past for examples of how depreciation can make for an exceptional used-car deal.
This month though, we’ll deviate from our typical format, with a look to the not-too-distant future, where a fast and popular performance car, and many of its competitors, are probably about to get a lot more affordable in the used marketplace.
We’re talking, mostly, about the C7-generation Chevrolet Corvette – belonging to model years 2014 to 2019, inclusive.
If you’re after a C7 Corvette specifically, or something in a similar performance ballpark, now’s a good time to be patient, and to start paying close attention to used asking prices.
This all revolves around the upcoming launch of the new “C8” Chevrolet Corvette, which GM claims will offer supercar performance at an exceptionally low price.
When the C8 arrives, the C7 – at current asking prices anyways – will pale in comparison. So, if you’re planning to buy a new-to-you high-performance car in the coming year or so, you’ll probably want to check this out – and maybe especially if your car of choice happens to be a C7-generation Corvette.
Value Proposition Disruption
Chevrolet claims that the new C8 will set a new bang-for-the-buck standard amongst all performance cars – thanks to its mid-engine two-seat design, nearly 500 standard horsepower, and a 0–100 km/h time of about 3 seconds.
All of that, from a brand-new car that’s priced from under $73,000. You can’t even buy a BMW M3 – which is slower, by the way – or Porsche Cayman S for that money. In fact, the C8 Corvette might just represent the highest-performing car ever available on this side of a six-figure price tag.
Given the impressive evolution in performance, there’s a real likelihood that the arrival of the C8 will cause used asking prices of the C7 (and similar performance cars from other automakers), to take a nosedive.
Because for less than the asking price of many a second-hand GT-R or 911, C8 gives shoppers access to a brand-new supercar, with the latest technologies, and a full factory warranty.
For those shoppers gravitating towards eventual ownership of a second-hand C7, things are looking up, too.
It’s all to do with inventory – that is, supply and demand.
Some reports indicate that the buzz around the next-generation Corvette might already be hampering sales of the outgoing C7. In fact, GM Authority reports that the C7 Corvette has been suffering declining sales for some years – which may be partially attributable to shoppers holding off on their purchase in favour of the long-teased and much-hyped C8. Further, Hagerty reports that C7 vehicles will not be produced alongside the C8, though the launch of a new-generation Corvette will still likely stir a spike in trade-ins of second-hand C7s.
Put that together, and it seems dealers may soon be keen to move used (and unsold) C7 models from their inventory at a discount, as the C8’s specs and pricing make the C7 pale in comparison. It’s also likely that Canadian dealers will want new and unsold C7s to disappear before the C8s arrive. After all, selling a new (or slightly used) C7 at current asking prices may be a tall order once the C8 takes the spotlight in showrooms.
Supply vs Demand
So, even if a new C8 Corvette isn’t in your budget, its impending launch still looks like a very good thing if you’ve got your eye on a second-hand C7, or something similar.
If you’re shopping for a used go-fast toy, ask yourself this: would you rather buy a used F-Type R, 911, or GT-R – or something that’s as fast (or faster), brand-spanking new, possibly for tens of thousands less? And, would you rather buy a lightly used second-hand C7 for $65,000, when the brand-new (and much higher-performing) C8 can be had for just a few bucks more?
There will be plenty of used C7’s to pick from, too. At this writing, roughly 800 were available for sale, nationwide, on autoTRADER.ca. We expect this number to climb in the coming months. That means more C7 supply. And the upcoming C8, we figure, means less C7 demand. More supply and less demand tends to mean lower pricing – which is good for the second-hand shopper.
Next, consider the used value of “fast” sports cars in general. Depending on condition and equipment, second-hand copies of machines like the Cayman S, M3, GT350, C7 Corvette, Nissan GT-R, and others in a similar ballpark can, presently, command higher asking prices than the base MSRP of the upcoming C8.
Time will tell if the C8 Corvette will have a drastic effect on the sports car market in general, though with the promise of resetting the “bang for the buck” performance bar, we might soon start to see other iconic performance machines from the second-hand market unable to maintain current asking prices in the face of Chevrolet’s brand-spanking-new $73,000 supercar.
All said, when the new C8 arrives, at its impressive price point, it’ll make many a second-hand performance car shopper do some recalculating. Many of those saving $70,000 to $80,000 for a used performance car may go new instead. Which would result in a greater inventory of used $70,000 to $80,000 performance cars, and eventually, in a price drop.
It’s basic economics.
Of course, this is all conjecture at this point.
Maybe the C7-generation Corvette’s resale value will remain high – since it’s the last Corvette with a classic front-engine design, and the last Corvette with a manual transmission. Time will tell.
In any case, if you’re hoping to invest in a new-to-you sports car in the not-too-distant future, be sure to check autoTRADER.ca for the latest C8 Corvette news and to closely monitor the prices of whichever second-hand performance car you’ve got your eyes on too.