The Alliance & Leicester Car Depreciation Report, issued in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, claims to show which cars hold their value best. Benchmark prices are achieved by examining vehicles in eight sectors and their current forecourt prices at different age levels.
For its examination of the three-year benchmark, the report said: 'The cars which top each of the categories for the highest depreciation (lowest residual values) over three years are the Suzuki Alto, Nissan Micra, Renault Megane, Renault Laguna, Renault Scenic, Alfa Romeo 156 and the Vauxhall Omega. BMW and Volkswagen are best for slowest depreciating cars, while the Renault Laguna and Vauxhall Omega have the lowest residuals.'
The report also assesses one-year-old vehicle values and said some owners may be better off selling vehicles on short replacement cycles because of their high value after 12 months.
But a spokesman for Renault lambasted the figures, claiming they could not possibly reflect the true depreciation of its models. A spokesman said: 'The Laguna, which is currently on sale, was launched in February 2001. The research was conducted between December 2002 and November 2003. The researchers would have to have looked at a 1999 or 2000 Laguna – the old shape car – to produce three-year-old residual figures, while looking at the new Laguna for the one-year old residual. Such an approach provides no meaningful information.'
Tom Madden, customer affairs director of British Car Auctions, said: 'The report does not include mileage and no mention of condition. Without these it is almost impossible to make any statement about a vehicle's value.'