Forget stocks, put your money in a Toyota!

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The folks at Kelly Blue Book have come out with their annual list of car brands with the best resale value is surprisingly familiar.

Toyota led the way when you look at the value of a car five years after it leaves the showroom floor. The Japanese maker was led by the Toyota FJ Cruiser which retains 50% of its sticker price after half a decade.

The Tacoma pickup (49%) and the Camry helped (36.8%) Toyota take the top spot. The total showed that when you averaged all the models together, Toyotas retained 40.5% of their new car value.

I said surprisingly familiar because it was just a few years ago that everybody was angsting over the value of Toyotas. Concerns about unintended acceleration had both the company and dealers scrambling for a fix. Ultimately it was decided that the accelerator pedals were getting caught on the floor mat and millions of cars were recalled to make the repair. Now these issues do not affect the 2007 model. The recalls were only for 2009 and 2010, but there was a general feeling that anything with the Toyota nameplate was going to get dragged down. Apparently that wasn’t the case, although it will be interesting to see what happens to resale values when we hit 2014-15 models.

And speaking of surprises, you might have a hard time guessing what company had the second highest resale value. Jeep only missed tieing Toyota by a tenth of a point. In fact, when the folks at Kelly Blue Book look at how current models will retain their value (based on past models) they say that the Jeep Wrangler is going to be king. They predict it will retain 55% of its sticker price.

I was surprised to see that the top luxury brand only managed 5th place. Lexus was edged out by Scion (3rd) and Honda (4th).

I was not surprised to see that Korean cars are making a move. Both Hyundais and Kias are making a strong run up the chart with some models improving by more than 10%. The best of the bunch may be the Hyundai Tucson (the mid-sized crossover SUV). According to KBB, it will hold on to 45% of its value.

But enough of the boring stuff, you say, what about cars that are fun to drive did well? KBB predicts that the Camaro will lead the way. Of course, there was no 2007 Camaro, so their prediction is based on current sales and, no doubt, a Ouija board.

Interestingly, overall electric cars aren’t expected to do well, at least on paper. That’s because they get a $7,500 tax credit on the front end. You basically have to subtract that before you can start talking resale value so their percentages don’t look as good. You’ll have to do the math of what people actually paid before figuring out whether those cars had lasting value.

In the meantime that Toyota Highlander in my garage is looking better and better.

Click here to read the full report.

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