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‘Nip and tuck’ is good for residuals

Updating the exterior styling of an existing model can improve its residual value by as much as 15% during the first year of ownership.

A comparison of the trade values of a range of cars before and after they underwent mid-life facelifts indicates that used car buyers will often pay substantially more for the latest styling.

EurotaxGlass’s reports that these price premiums are greatest for vehicles produced by prestige marques such as Audi, BMW and Porsche.

For example, a 2004-registered ’54-plate Audi A4 2.0 SE CVT with the marque’s new grille currently commands a £1,825 premium over the pre-facelifted version of the same car registered just weeks earlier on the same ’54-plate.

A facelifted BMW X5 3.0 (petrol) registered in early 2004 on a ’53-plate is currently worth £1,025 more than the same X5 on a ’53-plate built immediately prior to the facelift. Similarly, a 2001 ’51-plate facelifted Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic currently has a £1,425 premium over the pre-facelift model on the same ’51-plate.

“Often these facelifted cars cost the same or only marginally more than the outgoing model, and yet the residual value performance is significantly better, particularly during the first 12 months,” said Richard Crosthwaite, prestige car editor at EurotaxGlass’s.

“Even after three years, facelifted cars will still typically retain around 50% of the initial premium. Although updates to the styling are often accompanied by under-the-skin changes, the evidence suggests it is the more distinctive new styling treatments that generate the greatest uplift in demand and a consequent improvement in used prices,” he added.

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