New analysis by Used Car Buyer magazine shows that the average car loses £21.40 of its value every day during the first six months, with some models losing up to £108 a day.

The figures, taken from a realistic cross section of the five most popular models across different categories, show that in total, new car owners lose £9.6bn in the first six months.  Industry forecasters still expect 2.4m new cars to be registered during 2004.


Average Discounted Purchase Price

Percentage Loss

Loss per day

Average loss over 6 months



36 percent





23 percent



Upper Medium


32 percent





24 percent



Small Family


36 percent





28 percent



Even with the discounts widely available on new cars taken into account, the stark findings confirm that depreciation is the single biggest cost in running a car – the equivalent of 66 pence per mile on average.

Owners of luxury models like the Mercedes S Class or Audi A8 feel the biggest losses, where depreciation runs at an incredible £108 per day during the first six months.

“When you see the figures in black and white, it’s not difficult to see why nearly a million people opt to buy a manufacturer approved used car in the 6-24 months old bracket every year,” explained report author and price guide expert, James Ruppert of Used Car Buyer.

“Letting new car buyers take the initial financial sting out of owning is a no-brainer. Even then, consumers still have to choose the right models to take full advantage of depreciation, or protect themselves against its effects.”

He added: “Remember that although a sports or executive car may have a lower depreciation percentage figure than an everyday hatch, it is the actual amount lost in pounds which is the crucial figure – 36 per cent of £8000 is still much lower than 23 per cent of £30,000.”

Slowest Depreciators

  • New Mini – Still a must have model
  • Nissan 350Z – Waiting list keeps prices up
  • Volvo XC90 – Much in demand
  • Smart Pure – Big in the city still
  • Toyota RAV-4 – Sensible 4×4 everyone wants
  • Mercedes E-Class diesel – Right badge and engine
  • Seat Alhambra – People carrier that stays firm
  • Porsche Boxster – On everyone’s wish list
  • Audi A3 – The prestige hatch
  • VW Golf – and another one

Biggest Depreciators

  • Vauxhall Vectra – Good car but lots around
  • Rover 45 – Getting old now
  • Alfa Romeo 166 – Unwanted executive
  • Peugeot 607 – Another big, unloved car
  • Renault Vel Satis – The most unloved exec
  • Citroën Xsara Coupé – Not taken seriously
  • Proton Wira – Weird name, ignored car
  • Perodua Kenari – Cheap to start with
  • Hyundai Sonata – No image, no hope
  • Suzuki Liana – Dull but cheap