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What Are You Willing To Trade Down To?

Posted by: David Kiley on March 18, 2009

Your lease is up on your BMW, Mercedes, Lexus or Range Rover.

Your stock portfolio is way down. You have either lost your job, or are worried about losing your job. Whatever the case, you are looking for ways to cut back on your expenses.

Your car? You were psyched to get into the Bimmer or the Range Rover Sport. It’s going to kill you to trade down. But reality is reality. Your kids’ college bills are coming. You don’t want to lose your house.

The question: What will you trade down to in order to get similar driving pleasure, save face and money. We want to know.

Here is a list of 20 vehicles we are starting with. But if the car you are ditching is not on the list, we still want to know.

Are you trading down? Tell us what you have traded down to. If you had to, hypothetically, trade down from one of these vehicles, what would you choose and why? Choose one, or more than one.

Cadillac Escalade
Hummer H2
Lexus LS
Lexus LX
Mercedes S Class
Mercedes E Class
Mercedes SL
BMW 7 Series
BMW 6 Series
BMW 5 Series
Infiniti M45
Audi A8
Audi R8
Bentley Cont. GT
Range Rover Sport
Jaguar XK
Porsche 911
Porsche Cayenne
Lincoln Navigator

Reader Comments

Frank Loweser

March 18, 2009 11:29 AM

If I was in a BMW 5 Series, I would probably trade down to used, late model, 3 Series, so I kept driving a Bimmer. or, I might consider a new VW Jetta, which is very nice, a great driver and pretty upscale looking in the new redesign. If I was in a 3 Series and trading down, I'd pick up a Jetta or possibly a Subaru Outback, and I would claim I did it for the all-wheel-drive.


March 18, 2009 11:47 AM

I wanted a BMW 5 series. Got a Hyundai Sonata instead. Affordable, decent back seat room for my kids, good mileage...frankly, I'm really pleased.


March 18, 2009 11:59 AM

If I had any of those, I would buy a 1 or 2 year old Audi A4. It is a great car and will last for quite some time - much longer than my payment would. The styling of the 2006 - 2008 A4 didn't change much, so you would still have that exterior "newer car look" that you were probably trying to achieve with your brand new Bimmer in the first place. Buying used (certified pre-owned) is cheaper, and if its a car in great shape, a better long term investment.

Elke Martin

March 18, 2009 12:44 PM

If I'm like 69% of Americans, any of these vehicles would be just one of 2 or more in my household. So, I would trade from 4 wheels to 2 and add a scooter or motorcycle to the mix. I can save hundreds every month in ownership/operating costs, still have an incredibly cool bit of transportation with a European brand nameplate if I so desire, get massive mpg when gas prices go up again and have some serious fun going from Point A to Z. Real life, I recently chose not to replace a BMW business lease with a sports car. Instead, I sold a family-owned SUV and leased an ML350 for business, effectively eliminating one vehicle from our household. We already own 5 motorcycles, so I think we're set with two wheels.

Reid Jajko

March 18, 2009 1:26 PM

I have a 5 series that was bought off lease 3 years ago; typically we got a new car every three years. Now we are keeping our current cars and just making the final payments. If I where to buy/need a new car, I would definitely scale down. Probably look at at a VW; reliable, nice looking and affordable.


March 18, 2009 1:52 PM

I think if I were driving a 5 series BMW or Mercedes I could transition down to a Volvo Sedan or a Subaru SUV on the basis of saftey or longevity. I think any car you "trade down" to would have to offer me an egotistical advantage, particularly in better mileage, smaller environmental impact or at least a safer vehicle for family/kids. Since the sex appeal/ego factor would be reduced you'd have to balance out the equation with some other variable. In the case that the car was used primarly to commute to the train station, i might be able to justify a nicer Hyundai, but from an ego standpoint, that kind of move may be another year or two out.

Brian Gluckman

March 18, 2009 2:37 PM

An increasing number of consumers aren't so much choosing to trade down as trade sideways, eschewing another BMW or Mercedes for a CPO vehicle. It's no wonder both brands, along with Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac, are reporting record sales in the CPO segment so far this year. The advantage for the consumer is that they get to still own a luxury vehicle while spending less, and the advantage for the manufacturer is that they get to keep the customer in the "family," with the hope that the customer will buy new again once the economy improves.


March 18, 2009 11:32 PM

I have owned a Hummer H2 and currently drive a 08 Caddilac Escalade ESV. My lease is due fall of next year... so what am I going to get. Well I will tell you I am one of those people that actually DROVE OFF ROAD with our rigs, due to camping, ATVing, DIrt biking hell, we even LIVE on a dirt road... so I plan on buying a new FJ Cruiser with all the goodies and a ton of accessories. I want a fun vehicle, and we have always had LARGE SUV's. So that is the new fun vehicle I can drive without worrying about the rims getting scuffed up! NOW FOR THE OLE' LADY (and our 2 boys) we are getting a nicely equipped Sprinter Van! ...did I mention we like large vehicles... LOL!


March 19, 2009 2:37 PM

I am in a BMW X5 now and my wife drives a BMW 328i. Trade down? You've got to be kidding, right? No way. Both are fully paid off. My 401k has nothing to do with my lifestyle. I still have 20+ years for the 401k to come back and we can fund the kids college out of cash flow if needed. Instead I am looking towards an X6 in two years when the 08 models start coming off of 3-yr leases.

eastern philo

April 16, 2009 10:03 PM

wow..i see lots words like "looking" and "upscale".."so I kept driving a bimmer".....
I think the best new biz opp is used vehicles with a logo that people need to show to prove their value...


May 4, 2009 8:13 AM

I have a 525xi that is coming off lease in the fall.
I have $33,000(can) buyback. 44,000km.
Should we buy this car instead of trading down to something

Diane Buckman

June 17, 2009 8:02 AM

We are trading down in December on our Range Rover Sport. Love it, but not the payment on the lease. All said, gas, insurance, payment = $1500/month.

Not sure what to we are going to do yet.


June 24, 2009 4:32 PM

I was planing to trade down my car but I don't have anybody yo spat me as a second signature., I have a 2008 toyota corolla, yea is very cheap for those with good credit history. Me in the other hand was a killer since I have a bad credit history. So I'm looking forward to give it back to the dealer or find some one and to trade it down. If any person who read this comment have any idea of what can I do, please contact me at c.vasquez12@gmail. I'm trying to save money for college. Thank you very mucj.

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