The Comeback of the SUV

Buyers and sellers on the secondhand used car market are finding a surprise this spring. SUVs and other 4wd vehicles are suddenly gaining in value and demand rather then continuing the downward trend. Now is a great time to sell your SUV. Why?

The 1980s had seen a dearth of blizzards in the United States, but in 1993 the so called Storm of the Century marked the beginning of a series of blizzards in the 1990s, (others being in 1996 and 1997). There is a certain type of American that refuses to let a problem get them stuck, no matter how seldom it occurs. These are the people on your block who own a snow blower, chain saw, and probably a generator. These Americans, being fond of tools to solve their problems, realized that an SUV or 4wd vehicle may come in handy. Soon, Jeep Cherokees and Ford Explorers were not just seen in the northern climes or in rural areas, but instead picking Johnny up from soccer. The SUV became the manly replacement for the SUV.

However, by the mid 2000s, we once again were seeing a lull in blizzards. And summers were getting warmer and warmer. With gas prices rising, SUVs suddenly didn’t seem to have much utility at all. The new gadget people were getting into was hybirds. And then the blizzard(s) of 2010 struck. People got stuck again. Now we’ve noticed that the prices of 4WD vehicles have started to rise again, significantly.

One difference between this rise of SUVs and the last one is that gas economical 4WD/AWD cars seem to be leading the second hand used car market now. Subaru’s and Audi’s especially. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve heard shopping around for a Subaru, and a quick check of Used Cars On-Line‘s inventory shows that Subaru’s are selling for above blue book value.

So now is the perfect time to unload that SUV you’ve been trying to get rid of. While it was almost impossible to sell an SUV in the fall, it now looks like a sellers market. It’s unclear if this is a long term trend, I suspect next winter’s weather will tell us for sure.