New research by EurotaxGlass’s, publisher of Glass’s Guide (a trade guide to used car values), suggests that the current economic downturn has contributed to a pronounced increase in rates of depreciation for large luxury saloon cars – the traditional wheels of choice for high-flying executives.

Comparing one-year-old examples of the segment’s best-selling diesel models in November 2007 with an identical group of the same age in November 2008, EurotaxGlass’s uncovered an additional average fall in value of GBP7,263, equivalent to a further 21 per cent off the trade-in price.  Vehicles evaluated included the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes S-Class.

The model experiencing the greatest increase in depreciation within this segment has been the Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI.  A one-year-old example in November 2007 had an average trade value of GBP43,350, but this month an identical model of the same age is worth GBP33,250, representing an additional GBP10,100, or 23 per cent, fall in value.

The increases in depreciation have been even greater – in monetary terms – within the large luxury coupe segment, where EurotaxGlass’s highlights an extra GBP9,789, or 18 per cent, off the trade-in values of leading models compared to the same point last year.  The analysis covered best-selling variants of a wide range of prestige coupes, including the BMW 6 Series, Jaguar XK, Mercedes SL-Class, Porsche 911, Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage.

“A number of factors have combined to ravage the trade values of large luxury saloons and coupes,” comments Richard Crosthwaite, Prestige Car Editor at EurotaxGlass’s.  “The economy has certainly made its mark, accelerating the trend where fleet buyers and consumers are gravitating towards smaller, cleaner and more fuel-efficient alternatives.  A marked increase in supply within the used market has also hit values, particularly within the coupe segment where sales of new examples have hit record highs over recent years.

“While we have not yet seen values in these segments reach their nadir, I believe any further increases in rates of depreciation will be more modest during the next 12 months.  Now seems to be the ideal time for prospective used car buyers to consider picking up a former fat cat’s executive express.”