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April 18, 2019
Ever wondered what these are worth?
In February 2000, I bought a 2000 Jeep Wrangler with the top-of-the-line Sahara package, well equipped with dual top and automatic transmission, for about $19,500. According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, that’s $28,786 in 2019 dollars.
I still own that Jeep. I’ve since swapped out the tires and wheels for a bigger set; otherwise it’s pretty much original. Here’s what it looks like today.
Then, in December 2008, I bought another new Jeep Wrangler with the Sahara package, this time a four-door (which wasn’t available in 2000). It, too, was well-equipped with hard top, automatic transmission, remote start, some factory-installed chrome accessories, and navigation. It was priced at $25,650. According to the CPI calculator, that would be $30,392 in 2019 dollars. The picture below was taken the day I victoriously drove the Jeep home from the dealer’s lot.
And here’s the same 2009 Jeep as of a few months ago:
I’m not about to buy another new Jeep anytime soon. My two old ones are holding up just fine. But today, in April 2019, I went to the Jeep website and used the Build & Price feature to spec out a 2019 Jeep Wrangler with the Sahara package and four doors. I equipped it as closely as I could to my 2009 model, including hardtop, automatic, remote start, and chrome step rails. The price? $46,915.
Yes, that’s $28,786 → $30,392 → $46,915.
Just for fun, I went to Edmunds.com for an appraisal. (Some folks prefer Black Book, but it demands an email address in exchange for an appraisal and I wasn’t in the mood to offer one up.) I plugged in my 2009 Wrangler, as equipped, with current mileage and condition. The “dealer retail” price as of April 2019 was $19,316. That is 75% of the price I paid in December 2008 — and 64% of the price in 2019 dollars. (The dealer retail appraisal for my 19-year-old Wrangler is $3,546.)
From this, I conclude that (a) Jeep is making a bundle on Wranglers, and (b) I got an exceptionally good value in December 2008 — especially considering it’s proven to be an extremely dependable vehicle.