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Is there any trick to get a general trade in value number on a 2016 Volt (purchased new now) in 12 to 24 months?

Trying to see if it would be better to buy a 2016 Volt now that qualifies for the 20% "cash back" and make use of the tax credit this year instead of leasing one. It sounds like the 20% cash back isn't applied to the leases. I'm on the list for a Tesla Model 3 and I do plan to purchase that whenever my number comes up. (I want AWD and all battery). However, I'm kinda looking for a more reliable car right now since I've driven my old Audi just about to the end of the road and the Volt comes with the kit I like; heated seats, Apple CarPlay, great mileage, good headlights (at least I assume the LED low beams are much better then standard halogen, I've become spoiled with nice HID low beams that just rock for night travel, especially on the highway.)

Just trying to figure out which would be the best move with my money. I don't really plan more then 10k miles/year and I take great care of my cars. I would probably be looking at putting about the same amount down as a lease would require ($1,000 - $2,000) so I know my monthly payments would be higher, but with 0% for 60 months right now AND the 20% cash back, I don't mind paying more monthly right now if I know I'll get some of that back from a trade in value... though if I'm underwater in 12 - 24 months based on trade in values that's a lot worse then finding a 24 month lease to go off of...

Are lease residual values any indication what a dealer would pay for trade in?
 

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Lease end values are never accurate. Usually, if the manufacturer wants to move cars they will inflate the residual which lowers the payments and moves more product. Then, the resale market gets a bit messed up as lots of cars come off lease and then go to auction. It's a bit of a cycle, more prevalent among domestics too.

If you can snag a 2 year lease with a real low payment you are probably better off than purchasing and trying to work resale 2 years out. 2 years is probably the worst for timing on resale values, especially if the retail drops or incentives increase. Just ask 2013 owners!
 

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I'm a research professor, so I did some analysis on depreciation numbers on Gen 1 Volts back in 2015. Looking at a typical final OTD price (Excluding the $5,000 GM price cut in 2014, government tax credits, and typical everybody gets them discounts), a Gen 1 Volt depreciated at about 8.5% per model year (as opposed to 12.1% industry average). That's not counting miles or other were and tear.

If you assume 150,000 miles as fully depreciated, Volt miles deduct roughly in the $0.18/mile range. From there you should be able to do the math on your specific case.

Note that the first year depreciation is typically a little steeper than average so take that into consideration. These numbers are a year+ old and for Gen 1. Also, be sure to include any financing cost if that applies.

My opinion: buy a off-lease Gen 1. Gen 1 is super reliable and can be picked up in the $12K - $13K range. I think you could sell for $10K-$11K easy when your model 3 arrives in 2018.
 
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