A lower Canadian dollar is contributing to record values for many used vehicles — a trend which is particularly evident in the results of this year’s Canadian Black Book Best Retained Value Awards. In other words, it’s a seller’s market for used vehicles in Canada.

The awards were released Wednesday evening in advance of the Canadian International AutoShow, which begins Friday.

The awards recognize 4-year-old models that retain their percentage of MSRP the best, across 20 categories.

The Jeep Wrangler once again showed impressive price strength, holding on to 79 percent of its original MSRP. Also note, this is 10 percent higher than last year, and the highest ever recorded retained value in the history of the awards program.

“The Wrangler remains a very hot commodity both new and used. When this happens late model used vehicles will often draw nearly the same price as a new model,” Josh Bailey, vice president of research and editorial at Canadian Black Book, told Auto Remarketing Canada. “We are seeing that occur in this case.  There have been occasions were one-year-old models are selling in the wholesale market above invoice price. A Wrangler might be a better place to invest than the stock market.”

The Wrangler is always a bit of an outlier, but overall, values are holding stronger-than-normal for many of the models highlighted this year.

Driven by a stronger economy and decreasing fuel costs, CBB editors explained, U.S. demand is growing for Canadian trucks and SUVs, pushed in part by a dropping Canadian dollar. The demand south of the border is contributing to already tight used supply and putting even more upward pressure on used values.

According to Black Book data, these factors have contributed to an overall 6.3-percent drop in depreciation among the 11 trucks, SUVs and vans that won or placed in this year’s CBB Retained Value awards.

And much of this price strength can be attributed in part to the 200,00 used vehicles imported into the U.S. last year, the most popular of which were trucks and SUVs, according to auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers, of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

 “American dealers have found new demand in the U.S. and more buying power in Canada, creating a desirable sellers’ market here,” said Brad Rome, president at Canadian Black Book.

“With a low dollar and sluggish Canadian economy largely due to poor oil prices, it can be hard to find positives anywhere.  But I can say that for several segments the used vehicle business is healthier now than it was a year ago.  It’s smart to take the time to get educated on values,” he adds.

Let’s break down the results.

First off, 2016 results marked a major milestone for the awards program: Fiat Chrysler won the full-size car class with its Dodge Charger. This marks the first win ever for any domestic model in the four mainstream car categories. And the automaker’s Dodge Challenger won the award for the sports car class for the fifth year in a row.

“Fiat Chrysler’s increased success in these awards is evidence of stronger North American brands, something we’ve been predicting for the last few years,” explained Bailey.  

In fact, when the 2011 Dodge Charger came out, there were a lot of improvements compared to the previous model, Bailey pointed out. Specifically, the new model was much quieter, and the interior quality had a bit of a face lift.

“Those are two important areas for full-size car buyers. There was also a reduction in the price of the AWD option which has helped increase the residuals,” Bailey added. “The 2012 model, what we are looking at for these awards carried those trait forward, and since the awareness around Charger has grown. This is certainly helpful for used-car prices.”

Toyota came out on top, for the ninth year in a row, for the most awards in 2016. The Japanese automaker took hope six first-place finishes. And the brand continues to rock the truck side of the business, with both its Tacoma and Tundra winning awards for the seventh consecutive year. CBB also pointed out that the Toyota Camry surpassed long-time winner Subaru Outback with its midsize car win.

So, why are Toyota vehicles so strong when it comes to holding their value? It might come down to their loyal customers, actually.

“At the risk of sounding trite, they continue to excel in these awards because buyers are willing to pay more for the vehicles,” said Bailey. “While that oversimplifies things, it is true. They continue to produce cars and trucks which are packaged well, built well, along with a reputation for being reliable. This covers most of the desires for used car buyers which drives up demands and prices as well.”

The midsize SUV category stood out this year with the highest Best Retained Value score out of all categories at 71 percent. The Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Highlander placed first, second and third, respectively, in this high-performing category.

The ‘Mid-size SUV’ category saw the highest ‘Best Retained Value’ of all categories at 71 per cent, with the Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Highlander placing first, second and third, respectively.  Toyota’s domination in this segment is directly tied to that impressive stat, of course.

“Toyota really has a lock on this segment as it would appear here.  The brand certainly has an influence on the high numbers but also this segment is popular at the moment for those looking to export to the U.S. market,” said Bailey. “In the case of the FJ Cruiser specifically, it has something of cult following, and it has gone out of production which drives prices upwards, no question.”

On the alternative fuel front, two vehicles placed this year, and both are Toyota plug-ins. The Prius V took home the award for the compact car category, and the Prius c was No. 2 in the subcompact car segment.

As for whether the Prius line will have any major competition when it comes to retained value from other alt fuel vehicles, that remains to be seen.

“At the moment that is hard to predict, but the Prius models are what many people think of when they think of hybrids. The competition presents very compelling options, no question but, the alternatively power segment is so small in Canada it may be tough to overcome the innovator, the Prius,” Bailey said.

Honda also made a good showing. It’s Fit won in the subcompact car category for the fourth year in a row, and the Odyssey was No. 1 in the minivan segment for the sixth time in seven years.

Overall, Japanese brands continued to dominate the awards, including the Nissan NV, which beat out the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the full-size van class. At the end of the day, Japanese automakers notched 27 first, second and third place finishes, which is almost half of the possible placings.

As for what’s in store in terms of future price retention and whether depreciation will grow or drop off, that depends on a variety of factors — namely, used supply.

“There is a good chance it will continue to grow, but that will depend upon the exchange rate, continued U.S. economic expansion, and cheap fuel prices,” said Bailey. “With things going well in the U.S. there is a demand for trucks, especially those that have a 30 percent discount, that to say those imported from Canada. Pump prices are likely to continue to stay low and likely will creep lower than today.  That all bodes well for truck values, but don’t expect the same pace of appreciation in 2016.”

Check out below the full results from Canadian Black Book’s 2016 Best Retained Value Awards:





Sub-compact Car

Honda Fit

Toyota Prius c

Kia Soul

Compact Car

Toyota Prius v

Subaru Impreza

Mitsubishi Lancer

Mid-size Car

Toyota Camry

Honda Accord

Subaru Outback

Full-size Car

Dodge Charger

Toyota Avalon

Chrysler 300

Entry Luxury Car

Volvo XC70

Lexus IS Series

Lexus CT200h

Luxury Car

Audi A7

Audi A5

Audi A6

Premium Luxury Car

Porsche Panamera

Lexus LS Series

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

Premium Sports Car

Porsche Cayman

Porsche Boxster

Audi R8

Sports Car

Dodge Challenger

Audi TT

Ford Mustang

Small Pickup

Toyota Tacoma

Honda Ridgeline

Nissan Frontier

Full-size Pickup

Toyota Tundra

Ford F Series

GMC Sierra HD


Honda Odyssey

Toyota Sienna

Nissan Quest

Full-size Van

Nissan NV Van

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

GMC Savana

Compact Commercial Van

Ford Transit Connect

Dodge Ram Cargo Van


Compact SUV

Jeep Wrangler

Honda CR-V

Jeep Compass

Mid-size SUV

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Toyota 4Runner

Toyota Highlander

Full-size SUV

Toyota Sequoia

Dodge Durango

Ford Expedition

Compact Luxury SUV

Audi Q5

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Volvo XC60

Mid-size Luxury SUV

Porsche Cayenne

Lexus RX Series

Lexus GX Series

Full-size Luxury SUV

Audi Q7

Land Rover Range Rover

Mercedes-Benz GL-Glass