By on July 16, 2012

Cars are like fruits and vegetables: They sell better fresh. Of course, even the freshest dud remains a dud. But all else being equal, those with a fresher line-up outsell those with aged product. TrueCar has put together an interesting table: What are the proportions of model year 2011 (yes, they are still on the lots), 2012, and 2013 in a brand’s sales?

Freshness is tops

Brand MY 2011 MY 2012 MY 2013
Hyundai 0.00% 58.30% 41.70%
Lexus 1.00% 68.20% 30.80%
Acura 0.60% 69.00% 30.40%
Mazda 0.70% 74.30% 25.00%
BMW 2.20% 73.30% 24.60%
Kia 0.20% 76.50% 23.20%
Infiniti 1.10% 76.80% 22.10%
Audi 0.20% 80.50% 19.30%
Lincoln 4.90% 77.60% 17.50%
Volvo 25.00% 58.30% 16.70%
Ford 1.20% 84.10% 14.60%
Overall 1.20% 92.10% 6.70%
Scion 0.00% 94.10% 5.90%
Porsche 0.70% 94.30% 5.10%
Subaru 0.10% 96.70% 3.20%
Volkswagen 0.50% 97.40% 2.10%
Chevrolet 1.70% 96.70% 1.70%
Cadillac 2.10% 96.70% 1.20%
Mercedes-Benz 1.00% 97.80% 1.20%
Toyota 1.10% 98.80% 0.10%
Nissan 1.50% 98.40% 0.10%
GMC 1.30% 98.60% 0.10%
FIAT 0.00% 100.00% 0.00%
Honda 0.30% 99.70% 0.00%
MINI 0.70% 99.30% 0.00%
Jeep 0.70% 99.30% 0.00%
Suzuki 0.80% 99.20% 0.00%
Ram 1.20% 98.80% 0.00%
Buick 1.60% 98.40% 0.00%
Dodge 2.00% 98.00% 0.00%
Chrysler 2.80% 97.30% 0.00%
Jaguar 3.10% 96.90% 0.00%
Land Rover 3.20% 96.80% 0.00%
Mitsubishi 5.00% 95.00% 0.00%

It is quite interesting to see that import brands and luxury brands have already a strong amount of sales with model-year 2013 sales in June.

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43 Comments on “Whose Cars Are The Freshest?...”

  • avatar

    Looks like one would have to check carefully for brown spots and fruit flies at a Volvo dealer lot!

  • avatar

    Surprised to see Toyota having 1.1% of its cars as 2011 – I thought the natural disasters of a year ago had meant there was a shortage of 2011 cars for them to sell. Yet here we are in the middle of 2012 and they still have 1500 or so left.

    • 0 avatar

      Is this an attempt at parodying the various UAW shills by singling out Toyota when they have a lower percentage of 2011 inventory than average and lower than almost all of the cars we’re supposed to be fooled into buying?

      • 0 avatar

        No, it might be an attempt to parody those who always pop up to quote anything negative to companies not starting with a H or a T. I didn`t calculate the average but many companies were lower than Toyota (and the domestics) including Honda, Mazda, Audi/VW, Kia/Hyundai, Jeep and Subaru.

        I am assuming, knowing your perspective, that you were not saying people are being fooled into buying Accords!

        Wasn`t Honda even worse hit than Toyota from the natural disasters last year? They have sold down their old stock better.

    • 0 avatar

      People from Detroit don’t know Toyota. On the coasts, we know the answer. Toyota skipped the 12 Land Cruiser. They continued to produce and sell 11 Land Cruisers up until just about now. The 13 Land Cruisers are either now available, or will be available shortly. In 7 figure hoods on the coasts, we all know this because Land Cruiser is a must have for a home with a 7 figure income.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s douchetastic!

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        guess there aren’t as many 7 figure hoods as there used to be out in California…or there really never were that many…people just using their homes as ATM machines to afford them.

        Land Cruiser sales have dropped from around 7k a year in the early 2000’s down to less than 2k a year.

        That accounts for about 167 of those 2011 sales.

  • avatar

    So, a 2012MY vehicle was considered old last June 2012. What’s up with the futuristic model years?

  • avatar

    interesting, but what I’d be more interested in is the volume weighted ‘freshness’ of each OEM’s line up in years since major freshening.

    • 0 avatar

      Very good point, since having the new 2013’s available for a very old model, like say the Impala isn`t really the definition of freshness.

    • 0 avatar

      I fail to understand what the benefit is of buying a new 2011 model over a 2012 model, or a 2013 model if it is already available now.

      Buying the 2011 you’re buying something that is two years old with zero miles on the clock, but it is already two years old. And if the same model is available as a 2013, why would you buy the year-old 2012 model either?

      The manufacturers and dealers can’t discount them enough to ‘loan-value’ if you have to finance it, and if you don’t have to finance it, why would you want something that is worth less than what you’re paying for it?

      It can be argued that you lose 25% of any new car’s value the moment you drive it off the lot. If that is the case, I’d choose to lose the 25% on a 2013 model instead of a 2012 or, worse yet, a 2011, which already lost a substantial amount of value at the end of each model year.

  • avatar

    Federal law requires that a model year (a) lasts one year and (b) has at least one day during the calendar year in question.

    In other words, a model year can begin as early as January 2 of the prior year. When the model year begins is at the manufacturer’s prerogative. Traditionally, the model year has begun in the fall of the year prior, but there is no legal requirement to follow that convention.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      It seems like it is still open to a lot of gaming by the manufacturers.

      Is there anything to stop a company from introducing a new model year in January and getting the sales bump from hyping up the “all-new” 2013 model and then in August or September putting new engines in but keeping the model year and hyping it up again as “state-of-the-art brand-new engines!!!” for more sales gain?

      • 0 avatar

        “Is there anything to stop a company from introducing a new model year in January and getting the sales bump from hyping up the “all-new” 2013 model and then in August or September putting new engines in but keeping the model year and hyping it up again as “state-of-the-art brand-new engines!!!” for more sales gain?”

        The short answer is “no.” The model year is defined by the model that exists on January 1 of the calendar year in question. The 2014 model year can start as early as January 2, 2013 (although it is unlikely that anyone will do that.)

      • 0 avatar

        several brands have done just that with significant refreshes that fall within a mid-year cycle.

        I’ve been involved in the enthusiast community for every car I’ve owned in the last 8 years. My fist of these was a B5 Audi A4, and that one comes to mind. For both the A4 and the S4 of that generation there was at least one iteration introduced on a half year.

        The A4 had the 99.5, which received most of the cosmetic upgrades of the 00-01s, but with the drive-by-cable engine of the 96-99 versions, and easy retrofit on most non-similar parts. In the community it was the most desirable car to have as it had the newer (and better looking exterior, with the more easily-tuned older version of the 1.8T.

        The S4 of that generation received a 01.5 final version with updated turbo oiling, and newer looking S4 badging (looks like every S4 badge you see now) but was otherwise identical.

        I know you didn’t ask for the history lesson, but I felt like throwing out examples I was familiar with.

        The funny part is I doubt anybody except for enthusiasts even realize these half-years exist for the most part.

      • 0 avatar

        I once had an Isuzu Trooper that was one of the last of it’s model year and included some of the next year models options – like the transmission and I think the color combo as well. The problem was that for years afterwards I was getting notices from the insurance company insisting that there must be an error in the VIN I gave them because the particular options encoded into the number weren’t offered for that year. Multiple battles and I usually had to take it in for an inspection.

      • 0 avatar

        pch101, Ford did introduce the “97” F150 on Jan 2 1996 so it has been done before.

    • 0 avatar

      Surely there are examples of model years that last longer than a year, like the 1980 Citation. The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee will begin production in August of 2012 and be replaced by the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee in January of 2013. That suggests the 2014 Jeep will be in production for at least 18 months.

      • 0 avatar

        You are correct CJ. The 2012 Focus lasted 15+ months. And I thought the 2007 Tahoe was new in January 2006,so they last well over 12 months before the 2008 model year.

      • 0 avatar

        Correction: A model year can last one year + 364 days. The key is that January 1 of the year in question has to be included.

        So for example, a 2013 model could be introduced on January 2, 2012 and produced until December 31, 2013.

        40 CFR 85.2303: Duration of model year.

        A specific model year must always include January 1 of the calendar year for which it is designated and may not include a January 1 of any other calendar year. Thus, the maximum duration of a model year is one calendar year plus 364 days.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think it’s an actual requirement that a model year “last a year.” I know there’s a lot of gaming on model years. The most egregious one that I can recall was what Chrysler did over a decade ago…they anticipated the introduction of the PT Cruiser for the 2001 model year would improve their light truck CAFE rating so the Ram 1500 MY2000 lasted from September 1999 through January 2000. The Ram 1500 MY2001 lasted from February 2000 through August 2001, loading MY2001 up with low-CAFE trucks to be offset by the flat-floor “truck” PT Cruiser.

      • 0 avatar

        Dodge did make a few changes for the 2001 model year on the RAM 1500. I sold Dodge during that period, and the Ram got new cupholders in the rear bench seat for 2001! Plus, the all new 2002 Ram 1500 (except the 360 engine) was coming soon; so that could also be why the extended the 2001 model year of the Ram 1500.

    • 0 avatar

      Doesn’t content have to change 10% to say something is a new model year also.

      That is that 10% of the parts need to be different from a 2010 to 2011???

      I heard that years ago but figure someone in the B&B would know. I find that hard to believe when I look at models that remain pretty static year over year.

      • 0 avatar

        The model year is only tied to the calender, not parts content. It would be horribly uneconomical to redesign 10% of a car’s parts every year just to meet some arbitrary regulation. There is nothing legally stopping a company from keeping a model in production for decades as long as it meets safety and emissions standards for that year.

    • 0 avatar

      Automakers tend to launch all-new models and major refreshes early in the year to maximize sales, but then switch to the normal summer/fall period for the other model years.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny. All this discussion of model year gaming, and nobody mentions the mother of all model year games. The 1965 Mustang, which was introduced in April 1964. 1966 Production began in August 1965.

      • 0 avatar

        The 2013 Mustang has been on lots since at least March.

      • 0 avatar

        Another ‘Mother of all…’ was the 1949 Ford.

        Amazed though that some still don’t understand early model year releases, and will “swear up and down” that a certain car is an ‘YYYY – 1’ . Such as “1964 Mustang” or “1973 Mustang II”. One old friend swore that there was a 1957 Edsel since “I remember the commercials in 1957” ! [was 5 years old]

    • 0 avatar


      The tally might more accurately reflect the typical “new year” launch timing of a given brand than the average production-to-purchase time (the real measure of “freshness”).

      Still interesting (see:Volvo), but not quite representative of the stat it’s billed as.

  • avatar

    My local megadealer still has a new 06 Sonata (!), and a new 05 GMC cargo van in stock, plus some stray 2009s.

    • 0 avatar

      I just took at look at my neighborhood Toyota store’s new inventory. At first glance, they seem to list a new 2008 Camry, but it is actually a CPO they mistakenly categorized as new. A few months ago they had a 2011 Prius clearance. They had about 25 of them, IIRC. Why they still had them in March or April in a city where the Prius is one of the best selling cars isn’t clear.

      • 0 avatar

        Could have bought/traded the Priuses from somebody else where they weren’t selling. I bought a new car from a dealer off the lot where the sticker had a different dealers name.

      • 0 avatar

        LOL, My Toyota dealer lists a 2000 MR2 as a new car still on the lot. I asked, and it’s really a used car. Still not bad at $10k

  • avatar

    Well I’ll give Bertel credit, he’s all about equal opportunity when it comes to upsetting the B&B.

    I’m going back to eating popcorn.

  • avatar

    There’s a Honda dealer 5 minutes outside of Atlanta selling a new ’11 Civic EX coupe for $19K ( . Kinda perplexing in a city where Passports seem to outnumber Rodeos 2:1.

    Meanwhile, the same dealer has a CPO ’10 with >25K on the clock selling for $18.5K ( .

    Da fuq?

  • avatar

    I understand occasionally when an major redesign comes out, they introduce it early in the year. But when 41% of the sales of a brand are next years model in June, it leaves me scratching my head a bit on the relevancy of this statistic.

  • avatar

    Personally I go by the date of manufacture on the door panel as my ‘model year’.

    • 0 avatar

      Seems like that could make it tough to get the right parts if “your” model year doesn’t match the model year designation that is used by manufacturers and parts stores.

      The best example I know of of model year craziness is the 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass; which was both a square RWD disco era cruiser and a rounded futuristic FWD coupe depending on whether you got the 88 or the 88.5 model.

      • 0 avatar

        It would be risky even on models with normal model year schemes. My Dodges were both built on the 15th of December of the year preceding their model year. I probably could get away with buying 2009 parts for my 2010 Challenger, but in most cases it would be absurd to buy 2004 parts and expect them to fit my 2005 Dakota.

      • 0 avatar

        My Cressida was built in September of 1983 and is a 1984 model, yet there are some differences between the 1983 model, which was built until July of that year. The side mirrors are different, the cloth upholstery is different that most ’83s (as far as I can tell, late build ’83s used the ’84 velour), and the gauge cluster was redesigned on the ’84 to include a 130 mph top speed speedometer. All those parts would likely still be plug n’ play, but it does show that even vehicles of the same generation have differences.

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