A late-model vehicle is defined as any passenger motor vehicle from one of the six previous model years, according to Michigan's scrap title law. A vehicle over 8,000 pounds is considered a late model if it was manufactured in the last 16 years. In general, a later model means it has a newer year of manufacture.
In 2012, some of the most in-demand, late-model vehicles three years old or newer garnered 70 percent of their value in the used car market, according to Forbes. Used car dealers faced a shortage of inventory and needed to pay more money for better cars. Part of the reason for the shortage in 2012 was the government's "cash for clunkers" program in 2009.
Mike Carlson Motor Company states there are three advantages of purchasing a late-model car. A newer car has a greater chance of being properly maintained, there is a greater likelihood of it having had a single owner and there are fewer repair costs associated with newer vehicles. A late-model car may still be under warranty and is likely to have a dealer record of the vehicle's maintenance. Single-owner vehicles are often in better condition than those owned by more than one owner. A late-model used car also typically has fewer miles than an older model vehicle and is likely in better shape.