Are Domestic or Foreign Used Cars a Better Buy?

List: Posted: 04/05/11

When you are looking to purchase a used car from your local classifieds paper or auto dealership, there can be a lot to take into account.  Mileage, condition, accident history, maintenance, and more all weighs into how well a car will perform and how long you should be able to expect it to last. 

 

What about origin, however?  Are foreign-built used cars any more or less reliable than domestic vehicles?

  

There are certainly foreign brands that are among the top in the world for reliability.  The percentage of older Toyotas on the road, for example, is absolutely astounding, yet a look at the statistics for Nissan would not yield nearly the same results.  The same is true for American used cars, as Ford is on the list of vehicles that Consumer Reports lists as above average in reliability, while the Chevy fails to make the list.

In terms of resale value, foreign used cars tend to hold up slightly better than their domestic counterparts.  BMWs, for instance, can retail close to their original price if taken good care of and serviced regularly. 

 

This certainly makes foreign used cars slightly more appealing, but what about prices on replacement parts?  While getting new parts is often more costly for foreign vehicles, buying used, refurbished or junkyard parts can be pretty equal between the two.  The most popular vehicles are seen more often in junkyards after accidents, making them easier to buy.  In essence, it comes down to the rarity of the vehicle more than where it was made.

Offering a blanket answer to the foreign vs. domestic used cars debate is difficult.  Both offer pros and cons, but ultimately it comes down to the individual vehicle and how well its previous owners took care of it more than any other quality.

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