Even Saturn prices are leaving the stratosphere as used-car demand soars

Initially marketed as “a different kind of car company,” General Motors-owned Saturn unceremoniously closed its doors in early 2010 after years of slumping sales and degradation of the brand. The firm’s star is unexpectedly beginning to rise again as demand for used cars balloons in America, and values of used Saturn models are outpacing the industry average.

Citing data provided by Car Gurus, The Drive is reporting that Saturn’s transaction prices have increased more than any other carmaker’s during the past 90 days. They’ve gone up by 26.15% since March 2021, and they’ve skyrocketed by 30.24% since June 2020. For context, Subaru posted increases of 12.13% and 20.26%, respectively, and the industry-wide averages stand at 17.11% and 30.23%. Used cars are more expensive across the board, but luxury models generally gained less value than cheaper models built by mainstream brands.

In spite of the increase, Saturn’s transaction prices remain the lowest on the market, according to the same source. The average sale is pegged at $6,284, versus $23,734 for Toyota and $17,507 for Kia. One factor undoubtedly influencing this difference is that, as we mentioned, the last Saturn was built over a decade ago. There’s no such thing as a late-model Saturn, so all of its cars are lugging around 10-plus years of depreciation. If you want to surf this trend, the most expensive Saturn is the Outlook (2007-2010), an SUV that was basically a GMC Acadia with a different badge. It sells for $6,770, on average. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the humble Ion (2003-2007; pictured) trades hands for $4,446; it dented Saturn’s average by losing 0.49% of its value during the past 30 days.

What this means in the grand scheme of things is open to debate. What’s certain is that more motorists are buying used as the ongoing chip shortage creates delivery delays and leaves dealers with low inventory levels, a situation forcing companies to take unprecedented measures. Ford is offering a $1,000 incentive to keep buyers in the fold, for example. Some might end up with their name on a Saturn title simply because it was the first car they stumbled upon. Others, especially drivers 30 and older, might remember the brand’s reputation for building value-packed cars that were vaguely interesting. Some of the lingering economic destruction from the pandemic might also be sending buyers towards cheaper vehicles, which would explain why Suzuki prices are going up, too. 

Nothing suggests the increase is spurred by nostalgia-fueled impulse buys that are going to pelt Saturn into the world of sought-after collector cars. We don’t recommend replacing your 401(k) with a barn full of SCs.

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