Do American car brands hold their value?

    American car manufacturers are big players on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, Ford is the most popular car brand on British roads, with over 4 million passenger vehicles driving across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

    But do US car brands maintain their value over time? Car depreciation is a universal phenomenon affecting all vehicles, regardless of their origin. While American car brands may oscillate in value over time, they generally face similar trends as other brands.

    This means it’s essential to stay on top of your American car’s shifting value. If and when you choose to sell your car, knowing which factors impact resale costs will help you get more money from your vehicle. 

    American car manufacturers 101

    a red ford parked up
    American car manufacturing is led by the ‘Big Three’: General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.

    American car manufacturing is dominated by the ‘Big Three’: General Motors (GM), Ford, and Chrysler. Historically the three largest car manufacturers in North America, the trio all sell motor vehicles under a variety of brands. 

    GM stands out as one of the most influential car manufacturers globally. Created in 1908, it boasts a diverse brand portfolio including Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, and Buick. With iconic models like the Silverado pickup truck and the Corvette sports car, Chevrolet has become synonymous with American car culture. In 2022, it was the largest automaker in the US by sales. GM is now focusing on electric and autonomous vehicles. 

    Founded by Model T inventor Henry Ford in 1903, Ford Motor Company is another cornerstone of the American auto industry. Renowned for pioneering mass production techniques, Ford revolutionised manufacturing and made cars affordable for the masses. The company’s lineup includes the ever-popular Ford F-Series trucks, Mustangs, and a range of SUVs and sedans.

    Chrysler, now part of the Stellantis conglomerate which owns Fiat and Maserati, is also known for its focus on engineering and design. The manufacturer revolutionised family transportation with the minivan and created the iconic Jeep. Under Stellantis, Chrysler continues to innovate, offering a blend of luxury, performance, and practicality across its lineup.

    Despite facing challenges from foreign competitors and shifting market dynamics, the Big Three US car companies remain key players in the global automotive industry, and global car culture more broadly. 

    However, we’d be remiss to exclude Tesla, which has redefined the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry with its mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Tesla’s vertically integrated approach to manufacturing, cutting-edge technology, and long-range performance all continue to set new standards for EVs.

    From brand to condition, mileage, and age, many factors impact resale value. We explore some of the top factors below.

    However, remember that the story of every car is unique. Track the value of your American-made vehicle to make the most informed decision on when to sell based on your changing valuation trends. 


    BrandResale value reputationValue retention factors
    Tesla😁 Excellent– Cutting-edge technology and innovation
    – Performance
    – EV demand
    Chevrolet (owned by GM)😁 Excellent– Durability
    – Affordability
    – Brand Loyalty
    – Strong demand for trucks
    Ford🙂 Good– Brand loyalty
    – Durability 
    – Reliability
    Jeep (owned by Chrysler)🙂 Good– Durability
    – Off-road capabilities
    – Brand loyalty
    GMC (owned by GM)🙂 Good– Reliability 
    – Performance
    Cadillac (owned by GM)😐 Varied– Luxury
    – High-quality materials 
    – Brand loyalty
    Chrysler😐 Varied– Brand loyalty, especially for specific models

    Make and model

    Here are three American car models that fetched higher prices on Motorway in 2023 compared to 2022, indicating enduring value on the UK used car market:

    🚘 Ford Transit – The Ford Transit van is a popular choice for a larger sized vehicle in the UK. With ample load space and customisable interiors, the Transit is suited to meet a diversity of business or transportation needs. With a range of powertrain options and advanced technological features, backed by Ford’s reputation for durability, the Transit ensures drivers stay on the move. The resale price of Transits increased 5% from 2022 to 2023.

    🚘 Tesla Model 3 – The Tesla Model 3 sits at the cutting-edge of EV innovation, blending the latest in technology with unparalleled performance. Designed with sleek aesthetics and a minimalist interior, the Model 3 offers a futuristic driving experience with long-range capabilities and rapid acceleration. Combining sustainability with style and sophistication, the Model 3 epitomises eco-conscious luxury.

     🚘 Ford Fiesta – This city car is the most common passenger vehicle on UK roads. Its fuel-efficient engine options and agile performance make going from A to B a breeze, and its reliability and affordable price point keep it a top pick for British drivers. Inside, the Fiesta has a comfortable and feature-packed cabin, complete with the latest technology. 

    Vehicle type

    a tesla being charged
    American manufacturers offer a wide variety of car types, from EVs to sports cars to SUVs.

    From EVs to SUVs to compact cars, vehicle type also plays a role in how well a car holds value over time.

    • EVs – While growing in popularity, EVs often experience higher depreciation rates compared to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. The rapid pace of tech advancements can cause older models to lose value faster. Concerns about battery longevity, government policies, and charging infrastructure availability may cause buyers to see EVs as riskier investments, contributing to higher depreciation over time.
    • Hybrids – Hybrid vehicles typically have moderate depreciation rates, with fuel efficiency, reliability, and brand reputation influencing their resale value. Updates in hybrid technology and shifting consumer preferences towards fully electric or plug-in hybrid models may impact depreciation rates.
    • Sports Cars – Sports cars often depreciate at a slower rate compared to mainstream vehicles due to their unique styling, high-performance capabilities, and enthusiast appeal. However, valuation rates can vary significantly depending on factors such as brand prestige, model rarity, and maintenance costs.
    • SUVs and trucks – Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and trucks, especially full-size pickups, generally hold their value well due to their utility, durability, and high demand in industries such as construction and agriculture. Limited competition and brand loyalty also contribute to relatively low depreciation rates for trucks in particular.


    Which US made car best resale value in the UK?

    The Toyota Tacoma consistently ranks as one of the cars in the US with the best resale value due to its durability, reliability, and high demand in the truck market.

    Which American car brand is the most popular in the USA?

    Ford is the most purchased American car brand in the USA, with a wide range of vehicles, including trucks, SUVs, and sedans, catering to diverse consumer preferences and needs.

    Are American cars worth buying?

    American cars are worth buying for their performance, reliability, and diverse options. Brands like Ford, Chevrolet, and Jeep offer vehicles tailored to diverse lifestyles and preferences, and many maintain their value over time. However, do your research to ensure that your vehicle suits your needs.

    How can I track my car’s value? 

    If you’re not sure what your car’s value is to begin with, it’s hard to know how much its brand may impact the price.

    All vehicles depreciate at varying rates, with no rule of averages describing any one car’s changing value. Motorway’s Car Value Tracker provides a free, reliable monthly price alert for up to six vehicles at once. 

    Follow changes to your car’s value to choose the best time to sell, and make informed choices about investments in your car’s maintenance.

    Ready to sell your car?

    Want to read more about owning, valuing, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from depreciation to maintaining your car’s value. Understand your car’s worth in the wider market.