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Going hybrid doesn't help resale value | comment

Batteries failing is among the reasons hybrid cars don't hold their resale value.

Going green is not paying off in Australia. The first to buy hybrids and electric cars are now suffering on the second-hand scene.

Even with hybrid taxis flooding roads and providing a considerable pay-off for the cabbies who run a Camry or Prius in the city, private buyers are yet to get a return on their initial spending.

It's particularly true of the early Toyota and Honda hybrids, as well as the handful of electric cars that have made it onto Australian roads.

"First-generation hybrid cars, including the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, failed to attract demand as used cars due to the perception that the batteries would fail and be expensive to replace," says Santo Amoddio, chief executive of the Glass's Guide used-car pricing guide.

"Other examples include electric cars. The Nissan Leaf had three significant price reductions, from $51,000 to $46,00 and then $40,000, all in the space of just over a year."

Green cars are not alone.

"New-car price rollbacks are not good for existing owners of the model," says Amoddio. "The best examples we can give are where the importer significantly drops a new-car price, like the Chrysler 300C. The price was cut from $60,000 to $45,000 and this has a relatively and immediate detrimental impact on all used models in the range."

He also warns owners of anything from the Volkswagen Group — Audi, Skoda, Porsche and Volkswagen — following the current turmoil over emissions cheating and faulty reporting of fuel-economy and CO2 numbers.

"Any vehicle of a significant product recall will be hurt. Recent examples include Great Wall with its asbestos problems as well as VW's diesel affected models.

"This all depends on how VW plans to respond to the problem and the extent of the rectification required. At the moment, the uncertainty in the market has created doubt in the minds of used-car buyers and we expect that resale values will reflect this over time."