Used Car Demand Is Spiking, But These Models Aren’t Going Anywhere, According To New Study

COVID-19 has shifted demand toward affordable used cars

Some used cars are magnets to potential buyers who snap them up almost immediately after they hit a dealer’s inventory. EVs are good examples of that trend, since they depreciate about as quickly as last year’s laptop. Other models, on the other hand, aren’t quite so lucky, languishing on dealer lots for several months at a time — with some taking a staggering 200 days on average to actually sell.

Research firm iSeeCars published a new study showing the fastest and slowest-selling used cars in the U.S. market. They analyzed over 4.4 million new and used car sales from March through June 2020. In that data, they found the average new car takes 96.9 days to sell, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, used cars are selling at a much faster rate, moving in just 68.9 days on average. Those figures were 57.8 days and 50.1 days respectively prior to the pandemic.

Demand has spiked for used cars in recent months for a few notable reasons. They’re less expensive than buying brand new cars, for a start. Manufacturers have largely pulled back on generous incentives we saw at the beginning of the pandemic to keep sales ticking, making new purchases less attractive. Unique to the pandemic, disruptions in global supply chains and factory shutdowns hobbled new car manufacturing in the spring, forcing some buyers into the used market simply because there isn’t enough new inventory.

Whatever the reason, more people are buying used cars to the extent that resale values are actually increasing across the industry. Despite that, though, there are still some cars that suffer sluggish turnarounds compared to more popular cars.

Slowest-selling used cars in mid-2020

On average, iSeeCars noted the average used car takes 68.9 days to sell from the time it hits the lot. The best-case scenario among the ten slowest sellers was a properly lethargic 109.8 days. The worst car took nearly double that amount of time to find an owner.

Here’s the actual data below, as taken from the study:

Nearly every Land Rover vehicle made it onto the list, with the exception of the brand new Defender and the entry-level Range Rover Evoque. The Discovery was the slowest seller of all, taking 199.9 days to sell. The Range Rover Velar followed suit with 188.1 days, while the full-sized Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery Sport didn’t fare much better.

The Maserati Levante was the third slowest-selling used car. Like Land Rover, the brand has a dubious reputation for reliability. While its $56,814 average used price is still substantially cheaper than buying new, that’s still an expensive outlay as many buyers are looking for more affordable options. To wit, several of the fastest-selling used cars fetch an average price under $20,000. Only the Tesla Model X eclipses the Levante’s price, and it takes 47.6 days on average to sell.

Two outliers to the luxury vehicles on the list are the Kia Cadenza and the Ford EcoSport. Neither are particularly strong sellers in the new car market, so it stands to reason used demand isn’t strong for them either. That said, both do appeal on value, as either is available at or less than $20,000. A mid-range Ford EcoSport starts at $24,695, so its second-hand price may need to fall farther to curry favor with potential buyers, who can pick up one of the EcoSports rivals brand new for what these tiny crossovers are floating around for on the used market.