Pricing guide Kelley Blue Book has named Volkswagen as the brand best for projected overall resale value in the United States after analysing 2008 model-year vehicles and identifying those expected to retain the greatest percentage of their original price over five years.

Volkswagen took the top brand spot with Acura and Honda falling in the overall brand rankings to third and fourth respectively.

The top 10 were: VW 48.1%, BMW 45.6%, Acura 45.4%, Honda 45.2%, Porsche 44.9%, Subaru 44.4% Lexus 43.2%, Infiniti 43.1%, Audi 42.6% and Toyota 41.4%.

The best resale value by vehicle category leaders were: sedan: Honda Civic; luxury: BMW 6 series; coupe: Infiniti G37; pickup: Toyota Tundra; convertible: Mini Cooper; sport utility: Acura MDX; wagon: Scion xB; van/minivan: Honda Odyssey; hatchback: Scion tC; hybrid: Honda Civic Hybrid; high performance: Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

The top 10 models were: Chevrolet Corvette, Scion xB, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Infiniti G37, Volkswagen Eos, Mini Cooper, Volkswagen Jetta, Scion tC and Volkswagen Rabbit (the US version of the Golf).

Kelley Blue Book expects overall vehicle sales to be down in 2008 compared with 2007 and, with a possible economic slowdown, analysts are seeing a decline in sales and demand for new vehicles, and an increase in demand for used vehicles.

"With a declining real-estate market and home-loan industry in turmoil, compounded by the fact the American dollar is making its weakest showing in three decades, the new-vehicle industry can expect another difficult, hotly-competitive year," said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

Throughout the last half-decade, Volkswagen has continued to make its way up in the rankings with the majority of its vehicles holding an average of 48% or more of their original manufacturers' suggested retail price (MSRP).

All of the models in the brand, except for the Touareg SUV, experienced improved residual values over the previous year.  Volkswagen earned its top position through the strength of the Eos, Jetta and Rabbit. All three average 60-month residuals greater than 50%. Neither the Jetta nor Rabbit were redesigned for 2008, yet both made significant gains in residual improvement.  A combination of value pricing, European styling and fuel efficiency make these models increasingly popular used-car choices, KBB said. The Touareg, the only Volkswagen vehicle to lose ground year-over-year, is a premium-priced SUV with one of the oldest designs in the brand's lineup.

"Volkswagen's content, design, pricing and German engineering are a winning combination when it comes to resale value," said Nerad.

"While many used vehicles become a 'commodity' after they are a few years old, Volkswagens retain their brand values, enhancing their desirability as used vehicles."

Criteria for the award required the brand to have a minimum of four nameplates in its portfolio, a factor that eliminated high-ranking brand performers like Mini and Scion, which both carry five-year residual percentages of more than 50% across their small vehicle line-ups.