Do German car models hold their value well?

    German cars have a stellar reputation for a reason. Whether you’re looking at BMW or Audi or Porsche, German brands generally hold their value well over time. Meticulous engineering, high-quality parts, and advanced technological features all contribute to high resale values, as well as an enduring popularity on British roads.

    Are you thinking of selling your German-made vehicle? Before you get into the seller’s seat, it’s important to do your homework on the resale market, as well as valuation trends for your particular make and model. That way, you can make sure you get the best price possible.

    German car manufacturers 101

    A blue BMW
    Known for their top-notch style and performance, German car brands typically hold their value over time.

    The international automotive landscape is dominated by iconic German brands. Renowned for their precision engineering, luxury, and cutting-edge technology, German cars offer reliability and style, plus they’re built to last. 

    Who’s the largest carmaker in Germany? None other than Volkswagen. Known for making reliable commuter cars, VW offers a diverse range of vehicles, from compacts to SUVs, often at accessible price points. 

    In terms of premium cars, the engineers at BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche lead the charge. Headquartered in Munich, BMW is synonymous with luxury, with vehicles built from high-quality parts and designed with performance and innovation in mind. Mercedes-Benz, based in neighbouring Stuttgart, is known for combining elegance with advanced safety features. Also in Stuttgart, Porsche is celebrated for high-performance sports cars.

    And we’d be remiss to not mention German giant Audi, which is known for its sophisticated design and cutting-edge technology in the comfortable passenger and executive car categories. 

    Valuation trends

    While on the whole German cars retain their value well over time, not all vehicles are created equal. 

    The trio of brand, price point, and maintenance all impact resale value. However, the story of every car is unique. Track the value of your vehicle to make the most informed decision on when to sell based on your changing valuation trends. 


    We break down the resale value of the most popular German brands, as well as the factors that help them keep their value:

    BrandResale value reputationValue retention factors
    Porsche😁  Excellent– Iconic design
    – High performance
    – Limited production models
    Mercedes-Benz🙂 Good– Quality craftsmanship
    – Innovative technology
    – Strong brand
    Audi🙂 Good– Hi-tech advancements
    – Solid build quality
    BMW🙂 Good– Sporty performance
    – Brand prestige
    – Consistent updates
    Volkswagen😐 Average– Competitive pricing
    – Broad market appeal

    Luxury vs. mass-market vehicles

    While both luxury and mainstream German cars are powerful players in the used car market, on average, luxury cars depreciate faster than those available at more accessible price points. 

    As BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and other luxury manufacturers regularly renew their models, luxury cars can quickly become ‘runouts’ due to rapid technological advancements. This pace of innovation means that high-end new and slightly used cars (under 5 years old) can appear outdated and, in turn, experience steeper depreciations in value early on. 

    However, German luxury cars still hold strong resale values. Premium resale values are upheld by the manufacturers’ reputations of sophistication, exclusivity, and quality performance.

    Mass-market German car brands like Volkswagen, on the other hand, may not command the same level of prestige and exclusivity. As a result, these cars generally have a lower resale value compared to luxury brands. But, like their luxury counterparts, their manufacturers’ reputations for quality and reliability help keep resale values relatively steady.

    Keep in mind that market conditions, vehicle condition, and mileage also influence resale values. Track the value of your car with our free tool today.

    Expensive repairs

    Known for their performance and technology, German cars can also come with significant repair and maintenance costs. Specialised parts, complex electronics, limited aftermarket options, and the need for skilled technicians all contribute to high repair expenses. 

    More so, these factors affect the perception of both German luxury cars and price friendly vehicles on the used car market and drive down their resale value.

    Popularity of leasing

    Someone driving a blue Audi
    German cars remain a popular choice for UK drivers. 


    Which German car brand is most reliable?

    It’s a tight field among German car manufacturers for reliability. However, the Porsche 911 ranked as the most dependable model in the 2022 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study.  2022 was the second consecutive year and the third time in the past four years that the 911 earned this honour. 

    Renowned for their engineering, exceptional build quality, and performance, Porsche and BMW were the highest-ranked German brands for dependability in the premium segment of the latest J.D. Power study. 

    Who is the biggest buyer of German cars?

    China and the United States are the two largest buyers of German cars, according to the German government’s Federal Office of Statistics. With a robust demand for luxury vehicles from brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, Chinese consumers solidified China as the number one importer of German vehicles. 

    In 2021, Germany exported over 16.7 billion Euros worth of passenger vehicles to China and over 15 billion Euros worth to the United States. 

    The UK ranks as the third top export destination for German cars.

    What is the best selling German car brand in the UK?

    Volkswagen holds the title of the best-selling German car brand in the UK, offering a diverse range of vehicle models appealing to a broad market. According to YouGov’s Q4 2023 polling, the VW Golf is the second most popular car in the UK (behind the Ford Fiesta) and the VW Polo is the ninth best selling car in the nation. 

    Audi is trailing VW as the UK’s second best selling German car brand, with multiple models ranking in the top 10 most popular cars.

    How can I track the value of my car?

    graph of a BMWs value
    Tracking your car’s ongoing valuation is a smart move for your personal finances

    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 accurately 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.