Pre-Loved "Ultra Luxury" Car Prices Fall 18 Percent

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Since last January, JamesList.com has been offering a no-nonsense marketplace for buyers and sellers of upmarket chazzerei. Contrary to the media’s “teflon mega-rich” meme, website co-founder Noam Perski reports that tough times have quelled demand for your garden variety “ultra-luxury” automobiles (e.g., Bugatti Veyron, Rolls Royce Phantom). Perski says the slow-down lowered prices for pre-loved examples by some 18 percent (from May to September ’09). So far. “Prices for high end cars stayed firm until three to six months ago, but few deals were being done.” The good news: “When owners ask for less money, the goods are moving, indicating that we may be nudging the bottom of the market.” Or not. Meanwhile, further up and down the scale, its a different story . . .

Perski says that prices for pricey but less eye-wateringly expensive automobiles are actually increasing by around six percent in the last five months. Perski pointed to a Porsche Carrera whose price ascended from €55,631 to €57,891 during that time. “This part of the market was squeezed first,” he says. “They’ve already dropped, and dropped hard.”

I asked Perski about the pollyanna vibe coming from tippy top of the collector car auction circuit; the sense that the global economic meltdown don’t impress them much. “The auction market is carefully managed,” he pointed out. “The quality of the lots is rapidly going up—that’s the auction house’s way of keeping prices firm.”

In fact, it seems that F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong: the rich aren’t immune from, or insensitive to, the laws of supply and demand. “We discourage people listing on our site to mark the vehicles POR [Price On Request]. The days when people believed ‘if you have to ask you can’t afford it’ have gone out of the window.”

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Petrolhead85 Petrolhead85 on Sep 03, 2009

    @NickR: At first that seemed a little low to me too, but then I checked the pre-owned inventory on our local (Kelowna, BC) Mercedes dealer's website. They've got a 2005 SL55 AMG (24k km) for $67,000 and a 2003 SL500 (74k km) for $45,000. So it looks like your landlord got a fair deal (but not a bargain) for a low mileage '06 SL500.

  • Commando Commando on Sep 03, 2009

    RE: JamesList.com A CraigsList for the wealthy!! LMAO Too bad they don't have a "Services, Adult" section...

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
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