The used cars with the largest and smallest price increases amid the microchip shortage

National News

Vehicles with highest price hikes in August bring sticker-shock to consumers, present lucrative trade-in opportunities

The 2020 Nissan Leaf on display at the 2020 Pittsburgh International Auto Show Thursday, Feb.13, 2020 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Used car prices in August increased an average 26.2%, or $6,454, over the past 12 months, which is down from a 31.6 percent increase in July.
  • The vehicles with the highest price increases are a mix of economy cars and impractical cars.
  • Cars with the smallest price bumps are mainly luxury SUVs. 

Used car prices came down slightly in August from July, but they are still significantly higher than they were a year ago as the microchip shortage continues to impact the new and used car marketplace.

According to iSeeCars.com’s latest analysis of over 1.9 million used car sales in August, used car prices increased 26.2 percent, or $6,454, compared to the same period the previous year. This comes after a 31.6 percent increase in July and a 32.7 percent year-over-year increase in June.

“Used car prices have been coming down slightly since they peaked in June, but they are still significantly higher than they were last year, with the average used vehicle priced over $6,000 above where it was last August,” said Brauer. “As the microchip shortage-related plant shutdowns continue, and with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida expected to further elevate prices, there appears to be no relief in sight for used car shoppers.” 

Although the average used car has significantly increased in price, iSeeCars’s analysis also found some vehicles have lower-than-average increases, making them smarter buys for consumers in the market for a used car. “While these used models are more expensive than they were a year ago, they haven’t been as drastically impacted by price hikes,” said Brauer.

Top 10 Used Cars With the Greatest Price Increases 

The top ten vehicles with the greatest price increases have price changes from 1.2 to 1.9 times the average vehicle’s price increase and are primarily a mix of affordable cars and luxury cars. “Small cars have become the only affordable used cars for a larger segment of the population amid the current used car price hikes, and their price increases reflect the high demand for these otherwise lower-demand vehicles,” said Brauer. “Conversely, buyers looking for less practical cars like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class or a sports car aren’t as price-conscious and are willing to pay a premium for these vehicles, especially if they are in short supply in the new car marketplace.”

Top 10 Cars with the Greatest Price Increases – iSeeCars August 2021 Study
RankUsed VehicleAverage Used Car Price (August 2021)$ Price Change from August 2020 % Price Change from August 2020 
1Mitsubishi Mirage$13,398$4,45749.9%
2Nissan LEAF$19,990$6,37046.8%
3Chevrolet Spark$14,456$4,46744.7%
4Mercedes-Benz G-Class$160,465$45,99240.2%
5MINI Hardtop 2 Door$23,402$6,04434.8%
6Lincoln Navigator$64,413$16,53234.5%
7Kia Forte$16,770$4,12532.6%
8Lincoln Navigator L$66,934$16,32532.3%
9Chevrolet Camaro$35,635$8,43131.0%
10Kia Soul$16,940$3,97330.6%
Average Across All Cars$30,766$6,45426.2%

The vehicle with the greatest price increase is the Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact car, which saw a price increase of 49.9 percent over August 2020. It’s joined by four other small, gasoline cars, the subcompact Chevrolet Spark, the subcompact MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the compact Kia Forte, and the Kia Soul subcompact SUV. “The Chevrolet Spark and the Mitsubishi Mirage are the two lowest-cost cars on the market, while the Kia Forte and Kia Soul are among the lowest-priced options in their respective vehicle classes,” said Brauer. “These vehicles, along with the MINI Hardtop that appeals to practical buyers who want something more refined, are attainable for new drivers and those looking for cheap transportation, even with the big bump in prices over the past year.”

The vehicle with the second-largest price increase is the Nissan LEAF, which has risen in price by 44.7 percent since August 2020. “While used car prices for all electric vehicles have increased in recent months, the dramatic increase for used Nissan LEAF prices could be attributed to the 2018 model, which featured a significant bump in EV range, performance improvements, and an exterior facelift, and which only just entered the market this year in substantial numbers,” said Brauer. 

Ranked fourth is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which increased by 40.2 percent or $45,992. “The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is an opulent off-roader and a status symbol that has soared in popularity, with 2020 its best sales year to date,” said Brauer. “Its demand has outpaced supply in recent months, leading buyers to the used car marketplace where they are willing to pay a premium, especially for the range topping G550 4X4² that was only available on 2017 and 2018 models.”

Two similar American large SUVs make the list, including the sixth-ranked Lincoln Navigator and the eighth-ranked Lincoln Navigator L, which is the Navigator’s longer wheelbase variant. “The Lincoln Navigator was fully redesigned in 2018, which was its first full redesign in over a decade,” said Brauer. “With these redesigned models coming off-lease for the first time in 2021, and as the luxury full-size SUV market has boomed, buyers may be willing to pay more for these in-demand vehicles than they were for older versions.” 

The Chevrolet Camaro classic sports car rounds out the list in the ninth position. “Sports cars surged in popularity during the pandemic as drivers sought fun cars to combat boredom, and because they aren’t practical purchases, the consumers seeking these vehicles are likely more willing to pay a premium for them in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. “New versions of the Camaro were in short supply at dealerships as a result of microchip-related shutdowns, which further increased demand for used versions.”

Top 10 Used Cars With the Smallest Price Changes 

The top ten vehicles with the smallest price differences have increased 1.8 to 3.2 times less than the average vehicle and are mainly luxury SUVs. 

Top 10 Cars with the Smallest Price Increases (YoY) – iSeeCars August 2021 Study
RankUsed VehicleAverage Used Car Price (August 2021)$ Price Change from August 2020 % Price Change from August 2020 
1Mercedes-Benz GLC$38,123$2,8328.0%
2Audi SQ5$45,652$3,8219.1%
3Volvo XC90$41,953$3,5579.3%
4Lexus IS 300$31,987$2,92410.1%
5Audi Q5$34,376$3,86612.7%
6Audi Q7$44,350$5,07912.9%
7Porsche Macan$51,792$5,95013.0%
8INFINITI QX80$48,404$5,64513.2%
9Audi Q3$28,696$3,43413.6%
10Nissan Maxima$25,028$3,06814.0%
Average Across All Cars$30,766$6,45426.2%

The list is dominated by eight luxury SUVs across all sizes, including the first-ranked compact Mercedes-Benz GLC, the second-ranked compact Audi SQ5, the third-ranked midsize Volvo XC90, the fifth-ranked compact Audi Q5, the sixth-ranked midsize Audi Q7, the seventh-ranked Porsche Macan, the eighth-ranked full-size INFINITI QX80, and the ninth-ranked subcompact Audi Q3. 

“The Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Porsche Macan, and the Audi Q-Series vehicles are among the highest-rated vehicles in their classes, but they are also among the most expensive, which could explain why their price increases are lower than competitive models,” said Brauer. “The Volvo XC90 and the INFINITI QX80 are also quality vehicles with advanced technology, but their aging designs prevent them from standing out in their respective segments.” 

The Lexus IS 300 small luxury sedan also makes the list. “The Lexus IS 300 was refreshed for 2021 to include exterior styling and technology updates, which could help explain why used versions aren’t as desirable,” said Brauer.

Rounding out the list is the Nissan Maxima large sedan. “While the Nissan Maxima is a highly-rated vehicle, the large sedan segment is declining in popularity, and those willing to pay for a pricey sedan are more likely to opt for a luxury vehicle,” said Brauer.

“The current state of the used car market presents a selling or trade-in opportunity for consumers who may have one of the vehicles with the greatest price hikes,” said Brauer. “While consumers were previously advised to wait to purchase a used car if they were able to do so, the microchip shortage is expected to persist for at least a year longer than originally anticipated. The only way to avoid severe price hikes for the foreseeable future is to purchase a used vehicle that isn’t in very high demand.”

Used Car Price Increases by City

iSeeCars looked at the top 50 most populous metro areas to see which metro areas had the smallest and largest increase in used car prices in August 2021 compared to August 2020.

Average Used Car Price Increase in August by City
RankCity% Price Change from August 2020$ Price Change from August 2020 
1Fresno-Visalia, CA36.9%$7,524
2Salt Lake City, UT34.4%$7,832
3Oklahoma City, OK33.4%$8,061
4Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News,VA31.6%$6,793
5Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL31.4%$6,587
6West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL30.5%$6,607
7Houston, TX29.8%$7,391
8Jacksonville, FL29.7%$6,575
9Atlanta, GA29.5%$7,164
10Hartford & New Haven, CT29.4%$6,383
11Austin, TX29.3%$6,885
12Las Vegas, NV29.1%$6,466
13Cincinnati, OH28.8%$6,289
14St. Louis, MO28.8%$6,938
15Charlotte, NC28.8%$6,765
16Memphis, TN28.5%$6,404
17Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM27.8%$6,859
18Birmingham, AL27.7%$6,599
19Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC27.6%$6,534
20Milwaukee, WI27.5%$6,454
21Kansas City, MO27.1%$6,471
22Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN26.9%$6,567
23Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH26.9%$5,791
24Portland, OR26.5%$6,484
25Detroit, MI26.4%$6,226
26San Diego, CA26.3%$5,953
27San Antonio, TX26.3%$6,387
28Columbus, OH26.2%$5,736
Overall Average26.2%$6,454
29Greensboro-Winston Salem, NC25.9%$6,175
30Chicago, IL25.7%$6,347
31Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD)25.0%$5,933
32San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA24.9%$6,002
33Los Angeles, CA24.8%$6,124
34Indianapolis, IN24.8%$5,805
35Boston, MA-Manchester, NH24.7%$6,028
36Pittsburgh, PA24.7%$5,656
37Phoenix, AZ24.6%$5,749
38Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MI24.5%$5,961
39Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, PA24.2%$5,674
40Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL24.0%$5,528
41Denver, CO24.0%$6,008
42Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL23.5%$5,357
43Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA23.1%$5,633
44Baltimore, MD23.1%$5,330
45Greenville-Spartanburg, SC22.9%$5,598
46Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX22.4%$5,788
47Seattle-Tacoma, WA21.6%$5,565
48Philadelphia, PA21.0%$4,980
49Nashville, TN20.9%$5,142
50New York, NY19.8%$4,895

New York had the smallest price increase at 19.8 percent, while Fresno-Visalia had the greatest used car price increase at 36.9 percent.

More from iSeeCars.com:

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 1.9 million 1-5 year old used car sales in August 2020 and 2021. The average listing prices of each car model were compared between the two time periods, and the differences were expressed as both a percentage difference from the 2020 price as well as a dollar difference. Heavy-duty vehicles, low-volume vehicles, vehicles discontinued as of the 2021 model year, and vehicles with fewer than 4 of the 5 model years for each period were excluded from further analysis.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars free VIN check reports and Best Cars rankings. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $309 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.

This article, The Used Cars with the Largest and Smallest Price Increases Amid the Microchip Shortage, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com. 

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