Going up! – Volkswagen’s city car jumps straight to the top of the chart for lowest depreciation

MOTORISTS who bought Volkswagen’s tiny runabout, the up! hatchback, are laughing all the way to the bank as new figures reveal their motor as the lowest depreciating car on the road.

Independent car cost number crunchers, CAP Automotive, say depreciation over the last three years for a Volkswagen up! has averaged just £4,410 – less than half of the car’s original new price tag.

That means the up! tops the latest CAP chart of the least depreciating cars in the land.

Owners of the up! have cause to celebrate losing so little cash because depreciation is by far the biggest motoring cost – dwarfing fuel, maintenance, road tax or insurance every year.

Arguments rage all the time in the automotive industry over which cars hold their value best. On one side are people who believe the best measure is the percentage of cost new that a car retains.

On the other side are those who point out that percentages are meaningless to motorists and that real life depreciation is all about the cash lost by a car when the time comes to sell or trade the car in.

The latest top ten depreciators chart measures the actual money lost by a vehicle, rather than percentage figures.  It is based on CAP’s independent benchmark used car values guide Black Book Live – used by motor industry professionals every day to track trade and retail used car values.

Runners up in the latest chart are the Kia Picanto, which lost an average of £4,665 since April 2012, and the Perodua Myvi, which depreciated over the last three years by an average £4,873.

Philip Nothard, CAP’s retail and consumer expert, explained: “Although our industry is fond of focusing on percentages when it comes to depreciation, we believe that what really matters to motorists is the actual money they lose when they own a car over time.

“Some cars do achieve fantastic percentage value retention and very low cash value reduction and the most impressive combination in our latest top ten is the Audi A1, which has hung onto around 65% of its cost new while losing only £6,000 in cash.

“But anyone who bought a Volkswagen up! three years ago should be celebrating now because they have lost less money than people who bought any other type of new car.

“Our advice to motorists is always to put depreciation at the top of the list of their budgeting criteria, if they are keen to keep their spending down, because it is always more significant than any of the other costs associated with running a car.

“Our research among consumers has shown that people tend to mistakenly focus on the less significant motoring costs – like fuel economy – because they are easier to see.  In contrast, depreciation is invisible in day-to-day life and only reveals itself when you get a valuation or come to dispose of the vehicle.

"That's why we always encourage people to check the long term predicted ownership costs of cars by using a service like CAP's Total Cost of Motoring tool.

“But certainly, anyone who bought a Volkswagen up! three years ago won’t be getting any nasty surprises when they find out how much their car has depreciated, because it’s the best performer in the market over the past three years.”

Motorists can find out how much their next car will depreciate – or how much value their current car has lost – by using CAP’s free tools at www.cap.co.uk/consumer

Chart showing the 10 cars that lost the least money between April 2012 and April 2015