Buying a car is a major purchase, especially if it’s your first time. If you are on a tight budget, buying a used car may be for you.
The average time it takes for a late-model (model year from 2015 to 2017) used car to sell is 46.2 days — but not every car sells that quickly (or slowly), according to a report by ISeeCars.com.
The automotive research firm ranked the fastest- and slowest-selling used cars during the first month of 2022 based on sales data from its platform. At the top of the slowest list was the Lincoln Nautilus, a luxury SUV priced at more than $46,000, while the fastest-selling car was the Tesla Model Y, selling for $67,121. The 10 slowest-selling cars stayed on market for more than 57 days on average, while the 10 fastest-selling cars changed hands in less than 31 days on average.
The automotive research firm ranked the fastest- and slowest-selling used cars in the first half of 2018. At the top of the slowest list was the Porsche Cayenne, a luxury SUV priced at more than $60,000, while the fastest-selling car was the Toyota Prius C, selling for $15,000. The 10 slowest-selling cars stayed on market for an average of 65.3 days, while the 10 fastest-selling cars changed hands in an average of 33.9 days.
What makes a car sell slowly?
Julie Blackley, communications manager for ISeeCars.com, says many of the cars on the slowest-selling list come from less appealing brands.
Brands like Lincoln, which tops the slowest-selling list, simply aren’t as popular as other luxury brands, and haven’t set themselves apart from competitors. The second-slowest-selling car, the Ford Edge, is being discontinued after the 2023 model year, which is driving down interest in an already unpopular model.
Surprisingly, the Ford F-150, the most popular car in America, is on the slowest-selling list, but it was recently redesigned, and may reflect customers’ preference for the updated version of the truck.
The list of fastest-selling used cars reflects how difficult it is to buy a car in this market. While sedans have become less popular, customers are still flocking to models like the Toyota Corolla because they’re priced out of larger cars, Blackley says.
Hybrid and electric cars dominate the fastest-selling cars list, led by the Tesla Model Y and Toyota Prius Prime, reflecting worry over rising gas prices.
How to cope in this used car market
Cars are scarce and expensive thanks to microchip shortages that may persist for much of 2022, Blackley says. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made important components like nickel more expensive, which will exacerbate inflation in the car market. Even if you have a car on the list of slow-selling used cars, you’ll likely earn a premium.
“You’re still going to get more for your trade-in than you would at any other time,” Blackley says.
Prospective car buyers should be patient and flexible, she says. You may have to expand the physical radius of your search and the parameters of what kind of vehicle you want.
“Certain cars command more of a premium than others,” she says.
While used cars may be selling for more, that doesn’t help you if you still need a vehicle. It may be best to wait until prices return to normal.
“If you can wait, relief will come at some point,” Blackley says. “You just have to be patient.”
Fastest-selling used cars
10. Mazda 3
Average days on market: 28.6 Price: $25,192
9. Mitsubishi Outlander
Average days on market: 28.4 Price: $23,525
8. Toyota GR Supra
Average days on market: 27.8 Price: $57,545
7. Ford Mustang Mach-E
Average days on market: 27.7 Price: $58,744
6. Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Average days on market: 27.6 Price: $27,472
5. Toyota Prius
Average days on market: 26.7 Price: $26,340
4. Tesla Model 3
Average days on market: 26.5 Price: $50,996
3. Honda Insight
Average days on market: 25.9 Price: $27,191
2. Toyota Prius Prime
Average days on market: 25.8 Price: $28,844
1. Tesla Model Y
Average days on market: 24.7 Price: $67,121
Slowest-selling used cars
10. Mercedes Benz C-Class
Average days on market: 57.2 Price: $38,340
9. Ford Expedition Max
Average days on market: 58 Price: $57,677
8. Toyota Avalon
Average days on market: 59 Price: $34,758
7. Ford Expedition
Average days on market: 59.2 Price: $52,962
6. Buick Envision
Average days on market: 59.6 Price: $30,882
5. Volvo S60
Average days on market: 60.2 Price: $34,564
4. Ford F-150
Average days on market: 61.2 Price: $43,505
3. Ford Edge
Average days on market: 62.4 Price: $31,127
2. Mercedes-Benz GLB
Average days on market: 64.9 Price: $47,135
1. Lincoln Nautilus
Average days on market: 68.7 Price: $46,046
Image: martin-dm / Getty Images