By on August 26, 2009

Does this headline seem familiar? We noted a while back that British reliability records showed Chrysler and Fiat sharing space at the bottom of the rankings. Now, Glass’s Guide (via Autocar) has ranked British resale values by model, and Fiat’s Alfa 166 sedan takes dead last place. Not that this is entirely surprising; after all, reliability and resale tend to go hand-in-hand. The troubling part is that abominable resale values are already a major drag on Chrysler’s viability. How on earth is Fiat going to improve this desperate shortcoming for Chrysler, when it can’t beat the resale bug with its own products?

Here comes the weirdest part: though Chrysler ranked just worse than Fiat in the What Car? reliability ratings, Chrysler models are nowhere to be seen in this latest resale ranking. Fiat’s 166 is in dead last place, followed by several Rovers (courtesy of China’s SAIC), a Proton, Alfa’s 156, the Renault Laguna and Cadillac CTS. Despite reports of two-fer deals on British Avengers (leave Emma Peel out of this), not  a single Chrysler product makes the UK’s worst depreciation list. Which means either the transaction prices are so low there’s nowhere for them to depreciate to, or Alfa sedans (et al.) just lose that much value. Either way, it’s not a great harbinger for the future of the Fiat-Chrysler marriage.

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11 Comments on “A Merger of (Depreciation) Equals...”

  • avatar

    Alfas do lose that much value, which is precisely what makes me sick about them not selling here. I don’t stand a chance new, but when that first owner takes the combined depreciation hit and it’s not as reliable as his neighbor’s Corolla, I’d be ready to pounce. And I’d own a 166 in a minute, despite its depreciation.

  • avatar

    Back when I was in the auto industry, I drove a few competitive Euro vehicles including Fiats and Alfas.

    I have to say that the cars were just okay. Over the pond, these cars are not really considered to be reliability juggernauts.

    Yes, Fiat builds small cars. Probably at the same quality as a typical Chrysler. I don’t really see what they bring to the table here.

  • avatar

    Even when the 166 was still being produced the depreciation was terrible. Clarkson was effusive in his praise for the 166 on a Top Gear episode, but he also noted in excruciating detail that the car lost 50 pounds a week in value.

  • avatar

    Just for comparisons sake what are the numbers on a VW Golf or Euro Accord?

    Also, to those who say reliablity and resale value go hand in hand. What car maker has the higest resale value in America? VW.

    According to Wall Street Journal, VW is leading the automobile industry with the best overall predicted resale values. VW is followed by companies known to have cars with good resale values: BMW, Honda, Acura and Porsche.

  • avatar

    I suppose Chryslers don’t show up in What Car’s statistics simply because there isn’t enough data – nobody in their right mind buys Chryslers/Dodges in Europe – 300 and PT Cruiser, of course, being the notable exception. Looks do matter, you know.

    The Avenger, however, has to be quite simply the worst middle class saloon that money can buy in Europe, and no rock-bottom price or two-for-one giveaway sale in the world can mask the fact that it is stroke-inducingly ugly to boot. Anyone who would choose this turd over a one-year-old Passat or Mondeo or Laguna etc. with a two-year warranty extension obviously had a full-frontal lobotomy done at some stage.

    Resale value does not really correspond with reliability in Europe either: the Golf, for instance, holds its value ridiculously well although its crappy long-term reliability contrasts painfully with its remarkable perceived quality. A few uptown plastics in the interior go a long way.

  • avatar

    jmo :
    August 26th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Also, to those who say reliablity and resale value go hand in hand. What car maker has the higest resale value in America? VW.


    Reliability and resale value do go hand in hand in the US for mainstream cars.

    In the US, VW sells fewer cars than Subaru. When making your case, please don’t rely on just an obscurely small sample of the entire market. Given the size of Chrysler, it certainly would not stand any chance if it sells as many as VW in the US.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “I don’t really see what they bring to the table here.”

    Look at the photo again, now go look at a sebring.

  • avatar

    When making your case, please don’t rely on just an obscurely small sample of the entire market.

    VW isn’t Koenigsegg – enough VW’s are sold, both new and used, to make a significantly valid sample size.

  • avatar

    The British resale market is very different than that in the U.S., though. Company-leased vehicles as perks for employees are more common than here, I think because they are an additional benefit for employees that can be counted as a depreciable asset for the company, rather than taxable cash compensation. The result is that there are a lot of low-mileage, two- and three-year-old off-lease executive cars relative to the size of the car-buying population. Only certain of those models have much appeal to private buyers, so if it’s a particularly big, thirsty, or unreliable car to boot, resale values plummet.

    Some things that have very good resale value in the U.S. have terrible depreciation in the UK. The Toyota Camry, for instance — a Camry here is a pretty low depreciator, but in the UK, a V6 Camry can lose close to 70% of its value in three years. It’s big and fuelish by British standards, and it’s not German, which means that its desirability second-hand is low. Not so in America. The depreciation is not directly comparable.

  • avatar

    +1 I too am waiting for the 36 month lease returns. A used Alfa is an amazing car in the right hands.

  • avatar

    Alfa #2 on the 2009 JD Power Vehicle Owner Satisfaction Survey of cars owners in Germany:

    On the other hand Fiat is third from last.

    Unclear what any of these factoids really mean tho’.

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