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These extremely depreciated American cars are best avoided

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Every American automaker hopes that every model it builds will become an icon that will continue to appreciate in value forever. Take the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, for example. People who bought this beauty for just under $5,000 (about $49,000 in today’s money) are smiling all the way to the bank, as it can easily fetch half a million dollars at auction today.



RELATED: 10 Best Cheap American Cars to Turn into DragstersUnfortunately, second-hand cars like the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray there are very few, and the sad reality is that most American cars start to lose value as soon as they leave the dealer floor. Let’s take a look at ten depreciated American cars that you should avoid at all costs, no matter how cheap they are.

10 2013 Tesla Model S – $38,000

The Tesla Model S caused a huge wave of excitement when it debuted in 2012. It completely changed the view of electric cars because it was stylish, had a futuristic interior with a touchscreen that controlled everything and had plenty of range. The Model S has gotten better ever since and is now one of the fastest cars in the world, taking less than 2 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph in checkered guise.

While the Model S is undoubtedly great, you should probably avoid early models. Old Teslas have a reputation for poor build quality, and the battery can also run out after nearly a decade of driving.

9 Cadillac XLR – $30,000

In the early 2000s, Cadillac decided to enter the luxury sports car market. However, instead of developing a car from scratch, they decided to build a luxury version of the Corvette, resulting in the XLR.

The XLR was almost a success. It looked more chic than the Corvette it was based on and had a luxurious interior. However, it had less power than the Corvette and was heavier due to the added luxury features, which made it terrible to drive. Add to that reliability issues and it’s easy to see why Cadillac ended production of the XLR so quickly.


8 Chrysler TC by Maserati – $13,000

Back in the days, Chrysler boss Lee Iacocca and the Argentine entrepreneur Alejandro de Tomaso were great friends. De Tomaso’s family also owned Maserati at the time, so the two bosses decided to build a special car to celebrate the friendship. The result was the Chrysler TC By Maserati.

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The TC had to combine Italian beauty with American strength. The first part was right, because it looked great. However, because it was based on the awful Chrysler K car platform, it was unreliable and terrible to drive.


7 2004 Chevrolet SSR – $28,000

The SSR often leaves gearboxes wondering what Chevy was aiming for when building it. First of all, it’s hard to say what type of car it was. Was it a pickup, sports car or both? Whatever it was, it’s definitely one of the ugliest American cars ever made.

The SSR did have a monstrous Corvette-originated V8 under the hood, but many argued it wasn’t all that great to drive. The final nail in the SSR’s coffin was its insane price tag — a dazzling $42,000.

6 1994 Ford Mustang – $13,000

The third-generation Mustang nearly killed the beloved nameplate. The muscle car identity had been lost, both in appearance and performance. For this reason, everyone was excited to see how the fourth-generation Mustang would compare.

Unfortunately, many were disappointed when the fourth-generation Mustang debuted in 1994. Although it looked much better than the previous version, it still used the terrible Fox platform and had a disappointing 145 hp V6 engine instead of a V8.

5 2016 Cadillac Escalade – $35,000

The Cadillac Escalade needs no introduction, as it has been one of the best luxury SUVs since its introduction in 1998. It’s been Cadillac’s bread and butter for over two decades, and its popularity isn’t going away anytime soon.

While we love the Escalade, it is a luxury SUV that is being produced in large numbers. If there’s one thing you can expect from those kinds of vehicles, it’s high depreciation rates regardless of the generation or model year you buy.


4 Pontiac Fiero – $5,000

The Fiero infuriates us when we consider what it could have been if GM had played his cards right. The Fiero was said to be one of the best American cars of the 1980s because it had an attractive wedge-shaped design, decent power and the first American mid-engine sports car in decades.

RELATED: These Are the 5 Best Pontiacs Ever Made (and the 5 Worst)

Unfortunately, the Fiero gained a reputation for poor build quality, as it was built with leftover components from other awful GM cars. It was extremely unreliable and in some cases would even go up in flames.

3 2002 Ford Thunderbird – $15,000

In 1955, Ford introduced the two-seat Thunderbird as a direct competitor to the popular Corvette. Everyone loved the two-seat Thunderbird, but for some reason Ford scrapped it and replaced it with a four-seater and it stayed that way until the late 1990s, when Ford ended production of the Thunderbird.

In 2002, Ford decided to revive the Thunderbird, just as the gearboxes of two-seat sports cars had fallen in love in the 1950s. However, unlike the 1955 Thunderbird, the 2002 Thunderbird was ugly and uninspiring to drive. Ford finally discontinued the Thunderbird nameplate in 2005 after poor sales.


2 1975 Chevrolet Corvette – $12,900

The first two decades of the Corvette’s production were great. However, things turned sour for the Corvette in the mid-1970s, when the government introduced strict emissions restrictions that significantly reduced power.

The first Corvette to be affected by the restrictions was the 1975 model year. Unlike the 1974 Corvette, which produced 300 horsepower, the 1975 Corvette was equipped with a small-block V8 that delivered a weak 165 horsepower.

1 2016 Cadillac ELR – $28,000

The ELR is a luxury plug-in hybrid coupe that Cadillac produced from 2013 to 2016. The ELR was essentially a luxury version of the Chevy Bolt, with a sleeker two-door coupe design, a little more power and a more upscale interior.

While the ELR was clearly an upgrade over the Bolt, it wasn’t worth the $65,000 that Cadillac demanded. It wasn’t much better to ride than the Bolt, despite costing twice as much.