By on September 3, 2009

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.”

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8 Comments on “Pre-Loved “Ultra Luxury” Car Prices Fall 18 Percent...”


  • avatar
    NickR

    Interesting. My former landlord got a lightly used 2006 SL500 for 60,000 Canadian. That seemed awfully cheap to me.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The bargains extend to lower priced luxury cars as well.

    Look for any model that is currently dead in the water sales-wise, and you’ll find two or three-year old examples off-lease, CPO, for insanely low prices.

    Example: 2006 BMW 750Li, 18,000 miles, $40,000

    Another trick: look for cars with features that make them a tough sell in your area (i.e., a car with no AWD in an area that gets lots of snow, or an AWD car in Nevada).

    There are some sick bargains out there right now.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    They could give you one of those things free, and you could still go broke owning it for the cost of gas, repairs and insurance.

  • avatar

    The Carrera pricing trend jives with what I’ve been reading over at 6Speed, with this thread being particularly on point.

  • avatar
    tscurt

    I loved them pre. I love them now. I can’t afford one either way.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Pre-love sounds like something you do before you’re married.

  • avatar
    petrolhead85

    @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.

  • avatar
    Commando

    RE: JamesList.com

    A CraigsList for the wealthy!! LMAO
    Too bad they don’t have a “Services, Adult” section…

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