For over a year now, the Takata airbag scandal has pummeled the automotive industry. According to a recent study by iSeeCars.com, its repercussions could linger in the used car market for years.
Between 2000 and 2008, at least 8 million cars were fitted with defective air bag units built by the Takata Corporation and sold in the United States. If exposed to excess moisture, the defective airbags have the potential to deploy with excess force, and spray life-threatening shrapnel in to the car.
These units were installed in cars built by 10 of the world’s largest automakers, including General Motors, BMW, and Honda. While Takata notoriously refused to cooperate with any investigation, its airbags took lives, cost the automotive industry billions, and will go down in history as one of the biggest automotive scandals of all time.
Despite this, Americans are buying more cars than they have in nearly a decade. While this is good news for the automotive industry overall, it presents a major headache for used car dealers. As many as 40 million vehicles could be affected by these life-threatening airbags worldwide, but it’s estimated that 30 million cars could still be on the road that haven’t had the necessary work done to make them safe.
Looking at over 19 million vehicles sold from October 2013 to February 2014, as the Takata scandal was beginning to emerge, and again from October 2014 to February 2015, the height of the recalls, iSeeCars.com analyzed sales of vehicles affected by the recalls and saw a very serious pattern begin to emerge. The price of affected cars fell twice as fast as non-affected models – an average of 7.1%, compared to 3.2% over the same period.
While this may make some of these cars a relative steal in the used car market, it’s essential for buyers to make sure that all the necessary repairs have been made before purchasing one of these models. In order of depreciation, here are 10 used cars that have plummeted in value since the Takata scandal broke.
10. 2003-2007 Honda Pilot
Introduced in 2003 as a competitor to SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer, the Pilot has long been a strong seller for Honda, and an all-new family friendly Pilot is set to hit dealerships in the next few months. While the first-generation model is still a capable family hauler, its potential safety risks have caused it to take a beating in the used car market. Prices for the big SUV fell 11.5% after the Takata scandal hit, 1.3 times more than the price of its competitors.
9. 2005-2008 Dodge Durango
Similar in size to the Pilot, the Dodge Durango also shared the same airbags – and both models have suffered in the used car market because of it. Combining body-on-frame ruggedness with mid-size SUV luxury, the second generation Durango was a strong seller for Dodge while the company weathered some of the worst financial years in its history. Today, as the airbags call the Dodge’s safety into question, its value has dropped 11.6% in the past year alone, 1.3 times more than its unaffected rivals.
8. 2001-2006 BMW M3
For some BMW fans, the third-generation (also known as BMW’s internal designation “E46″ for this generation 3-Series) M3 is one of the greatest cars the company has ever built. With its 336 horsepower inline-six tuned by BMW’s M-Motorsport division, impeccable handling characteristics, and good looks that have aged beautifully, it’s considered one of the best performance cars of its time, regardless of price. Today, as the E46 M3 sits firmly in used car territory, and has been affected by the Takata recalls, there may never be a better time to pick up one of these gems. In the past year, its value has fallen 9.2% on the used market, 1.3 times more than its competitors. The E46 M3 is a used car bargain and is sure to become a classic – just make sure all the necessary airbag work has been done before you buy one.
7. 2002-2006 Honda CR-V
Honda’s CR-V crossover has been a strong seller for the company since it was introduced 20 years ago. Because of Honda’s bulletproof reliability, even the older models have held up remarkably well and are a great used car value. Be careful of second-generation models though, they came equipped with the defective Takata unitss, and their values have plummeted because of it. Since the scandal broke, the price of early-’00s CR-Vs has fallen 11.6%, 1.3 times more than the price of similar vehicles.
6. 2001-2003 Nissan Maxima
Nissan’s fifth-generation “4-Door Sports Car” still had the size, power, and handling to live up to its lofty title. Its performance, good looks, and high reliability have also made it a popular used car. Unfortunately, its value has dropped over the past year due to its Takata-built airbags. Prices for the sporty Nissan sedan have fallen a whopping 12.5% over the last year, 1.4 times more than similar models.
5. 2003-2005 Toyota Tundra
Introduced in 2000, Toyota’s Tundra was designed to do the near impossible and crack the full-size American pickup market. While it’s never enjoyed the sales success of its Big Three rivals, the big Toyota has won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year twice, and has proven itself as a reliable workhorse time and again. But because of its potentially dangerous airbags, the 2003-2005 models have taken a beating in the used car market. These early Tundras have seen a 7.5% drop in prices over the past year, 1.5 times more than its full-size competitors.
4. 2005-2008 Dodge Dakota
Discontinued in 2011, the Dakota was the last American mid-size pickup on the market offered with a V8. In its last three years as a Dodge model (it became the Ram Dakota in 2009), the capable Dakota was also manufactured with the dangerous Takata airbag units. As a result, the used car market hasn’t been kind to the truck. Prices for the last-of-the-line Dodges have dropped 7.2% since the scandal broke, losing 1.8 times the value of competitive models.
3. 2000-2006 BMW 3-Series
While the E46 M3 was the jewel in BMW’s compact performance crown in the early 2000s, some of its magic rubbed off on the entire 3-series line. The non-performance E46 models were strong world-wide sellers for BMW, and have long been considered a bargain in the used car market. But despite its good looks, performance, and driving characteristics that make it feel modern, prices for the E46 3-Series have taken a huge hit in the aftermath of the Takata scandal. Prices have slid a shocking 13.4% over the past year, 1.9 times more than competitive models.
2. 2003-2005 Infiniti FX 35/45
From 2003 to 2013, the Infiniti FX crossovers were a stylish and popular model for the upmarket brand. Today, the line lives on as the popular QX, and the company has been busy expanding the lineup. It introduced an aggressive new QX30 concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and has a new QX50 set to hit showrooms for 2016. As the former FX line enters its third generation, original models are still an attractive used luxury option. But with the troublesome Takata airbags, the bottom has fallen out for early models. Prices have slid 13.6%, or a whopping 2.6 times more than comparable models.
1. 2004-2008 Mazda RX-8
While its star shone brightly as a new model, things haven’t looked good for the RX-8 on the used market. While Mazda brought its legendary rotary engine out of retirement for its four-door sports coupe, it has developed a reputation for engine reliability issues, poor fuel economy, and a nasty habit of drinking oil. That it also has the potentially deadly Takata airbags is just another one this unique car’s many worrying faults. The price of used RX-8s have fallen 12% since the airbag recall, a shocking 3.5 times more than comparable used sports cars.
Despite sharing the same air bag supplier, these 10 models prove that the Takata scandal transcends price, segment, or country of origin. All these models have strengths and weaknesses, and any of them could be the perfect used car for a certain buyer. If you’re considering taking the plunge with any of these models, take the appropriate steps to make sure the car has been fixed. Airbags should be there to save your life, not put it in jeopardy.