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Will My Car Rise in Value Because It's Being Cancelled?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2017

Hello, readers of Oversteer, and welcome to this week's version of Ask Doug, which is everyone's favorite feature here on the site, in the sense that you seem to enjoy hearing my ramblings about automobiles, and the car industry, and some of the crazies who send me letters.

If you'd like to send me a letter, you can! Just email me at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, and I will be happy to consider your letter for publication on our fine website. I only got about six letters last week, which is very low, even though our traffic numbers have been pretty high. This suggests one thing: You no longer have any questions to ask me.

However, ONE OF YOU has something to ask me, and that's a reader named Edward, who writes:

Doug H. DeMuro VIII,

Let me preface my question by saying that I love your channel and your columns and I follow you similarly to an obsessive girlfriend. Keep up the awesome content.

My question is this: Will my Fiesta ST move up in value with its upcoming 2018 discontinuation in the US? Obviously this would not be the case with the bland, generic Fiesta but because the ST is already a relatively fun and fun car, wouldn't it become more of a collectible over time in the hot hatch enthusiast crowd? Sure, this is already the case with the Focus RS but why can't that level of appeal also be mirrored to it's baby brother when it is no longer available to the masses? I would like to think that someday my car will be looked at similarly to how we currently look at the 205 GTI, Renault 5 Turbo, and the Clio V6: Fun, uncommon, and sought after. So what do you think Doug? Do you think my car will be worth more in 10 years than it was when I drove it off the lot 3 years ago?

Very Respectfully,

Edward

For those of you who don't wish to read Edward's entire letter, I completely understand. However, I strongly suggest you at least read the first two sentences, where Edward says he "loves" my YouTube channel and my columns here on Oversteer, before calling my content "awesome." This is the most important part of the letter, I think we would all agree.

Edward then asks the following question: Given the Ford Fiesta is headed for cancellation, will his Fiesta ST be going up in value? Now they're no longer going to make the Fiesta or the Fiesta ST, isn't it reasonable to think his value is going to shoot up, and he's sitting on a pile of gold?

Here's the answer, Edward: No. That isn't going to happen.

A lot of people ask me if their car values are going to go up just because their model of car has been cancelled, and many people are absolutely certain of it. People who bought early-2000s Ford Thunderbirds are STILL convinced their values are going to shoot up, and many are still hanging onto those cars for dear life. But they aren't the only ones: I've heard from people with cars as basic as the Hyundai Veracruz that because their car is no longer in production, it's therefore rarer and its values are going to rise.

That just isn't true.

One major reason is obvious: If a car is cancelled, it's probably not because the car was revered by everyone and there's high demand. A lot of people complained when the OJ-era Ford Bronco was pulled from the market, for instance, but they did it for a reason: It wasn't selling. Same with virtually every other car that gets shelved without a replacement.

Admittedly, some modern cars do rise in value. The LaFerrari, for instance, shot up in value after production ended, largely because demand was much higher than supply, and Ferrari stopped the supply early. Same with the McLaren P1 and Porsche 911R. But while those are all 6-figure exotics, it even happens to more plebian cars: My 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 was around $40,000 new in 1997, and it has largely appreciated since then -- or at least held its value relatively well. I paid north of $60,000 for mine earlier this year. And the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon seems to be holding steady in the $40,000-$60,000 range if you can find one with a stick shift. Still, there's a common thread here: The 911R was limited to 991 units. The LaFerrari was limited to, let's say, around 600. Even my Defender was built in small numbers, with only a few thousand coming to the U.S. over a 3-year span -- and the same goes with the V Wagon. But the Ford Fiesta ST?

Here's the simple truth, Edward: There are 1,300 Fiesta ST models currently listed for sale on Autotrader. Not 1,300 Fiestas -- 1,300 "ST" versions. More importantly, the Fiesta ST has been on sale since 2014, so there are 4 years of production. If you figure the ST accounted for just 10 percent of Fiesta sales since 2014, you've got to figure there are around 25,000 Fiesta ST models out there -- with more new ones sold every day.

Now, high production numbers alone don't mean a car won't rise in value -- but they do mean a car won't rise in value in the near term. Just think about it: There are twenty-some-thousand Fiesta STs out there getting driven, getting abused, adding miles. It will be a long time before the used market isn't full of these things, in all colors and conditions, with sellers desperately trying to edge out the competition with a slightly lower price so theirs sell faster. The Fiesta ST just won't go up in value.

Yet.

I say yet because I suspect, one day, deep in the future, it actually may happen: The Fiesta ST may start to rise, just like the Peugeot 205 GTI you mentioned. It's a good car, it's an enthusiast car, and many of them will be modified or damaged -- and in 25 years or so, you may start to see Fiesta ST models getting back toward their original MSRP, or at least the inflation-adjusted equivalent. But, Edward, I wouldn't hold onto my Fiesta ST for that long, hoping for a rise in value. Instead, I'd go do exactly what that car was meant for: I'd drive it. Right after you check out more of my awesome content.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Will My Car Rise in Value Because It's Being Cancelled? - Autotrader