Going CPO? Look to GM!

2013 Buick LaCrosse

There are two ways of looking at Certified Pre-Owned cars:

  1. As overpriced used cars
  2. As value-priced new-car alternatives

Yes, buying a CPO vehicle will cost more than buying an as-is used car from a dealer or private party. The upside, though, is a warranty of some kind along with the peace of mind that comes with knowing the car underwent a 2,163-point inspection or whatever is standard now at dealerships.

The target market for CPO cars is people who want an alternative to a new car, but with the same assurance that if something goes wrong, they’re covered.

Virtually all automakers offer some kind of CPO program, and General Motors’ has recently been recognized as one of the best.

GM Certified Pre-Owned vehicles include a 2-year, 30,000-mile scheduled maintenance plan, which includes oil changes and tire rotations. That’s not a huge money saver to consumers, but it does add some measurable value to the cars. Buyers also get a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, all with no deductible.

Those factors, along with taking into account depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance and repairs led Vincentric, an automotive data firm, to label 8 GM vehicles as the Best Certified Pre-Owned Values in America.

The press release doesn’t provide any comparisons or show exactly how the numbers stack up against those of competing CPO programs, so we’re left to assume that General Motors’ truly is the best. It’s always a good idea, of course, to compare vehicles and CPO programs for yourself to find the one that feels right.

General Motors might offer free oil changes, but Toyota might offer a vehicle that better fits your needs. Awards like these make for interesting press releases and fodder for bloggers, but the real judge of who has the best program is you.

In your opinion, are Certified Pre-Owned cars worth the extra money?


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  1. I agree. CPO prices are just another profit center for dealers. I’ll either buy new if needed or private party used.

  2. The last time I looked for a new car, I was apalled by the absurd high prices on “certified” used cars. Toyota was the worst, with prices for used cars approaching new car prices. After all, what you are buying is a used car with a service contract included, so you shouldn’t expect the price to exceed that of the used car plus the service contract purchased separately.
    Another thing to consider is that your lender won’t loan you more than the car itself is worth, less a “down payment” factor. Certified used car buyers are typically steered into dealer or manufacturer sponsored financing deals, which instantly put you under water on your used car purchase.
    Don’t fall for the baloney. When you get into the certified used car price range, buy a new car. You’ll get a full warranty and will be able to finance the car at competitive rates.

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