AM Online

Parker's forecourt focus: 3 Series is likely to hold its value

Someone asked me recently if the BMW 3 Series was set to go the way of the Ford Mondeo and suffer from decreased resale values.

The reason? Well, it is no longer unusual to see the 3 Series selling more than the Ford Mondeo and the rest of the ‘volume’ players in the upper-medium sector.

Several times over the last few years the 3 Series has been the top-selling new upper-medium car in the UK on a month-by month basis and, if memory serves, it ended 2003 ahead of the Ford Mondeo in the SMMT registration figures.

People are asking whether, if the 3 Series is selling more than cars like the Mondeo, then why don’t its used values go down the same route.

If we look back at that year when 3 Series outsold Mondeo, the BMW had five different body styles compared with the Mondeo’s three, and it was a record year in the UK for the 3 Series Compact.

In the UK, the Mondeo is predominantly a hatchback with a small proportion of estates and a few saloons and, while the 3 Series saloon is the most common model, there is a much healthier mix of the other body styles.

While Ford (and others) have made huge strides towards endowing their cars with a high-quality feel so that they are now the equal of the prestige brands in terms of fit and finish, the biggest problem remains image.

We live in badge-snob Britain and a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and, to a lesser extent, Lexus and Jaguar make a clear statement about the owner.

The 3 Series is likely to remain a very strong proposition for holding its value, despite the increased numbers on the market compared with five to ten years ago.

But at a few years old, a Mondeo, Vectra or Avensis loaded with toys at five grand less than a low spec BMW will still be tempting for savvy buyers.

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