What does CPO mean? Breaking down the certified pre-owned label.
If you’ve ever taken a glance at the classified car section of your local paper, you’ve seen the letters CPO used liberally. Confused? Don’t be.
The letters “CPO” are simply an acronym for, “certified pre-owned car.”
Occupying the sales category between a new car and a used car, CPO vehicles stand out because they have been inspected and certified, usually by the car manufacturer.
Although the cars are not new, the stringent testing that they undergo means that they are a relatively safe purchase for consumers. And, since a new car is a very expensive proposition, this certification offers buyers some peace of mind.
Additionally, CPO vehicles are usually offered with an extended warranty and special offers, which vary from dealership to dealership.
Thinking about buying a new car? Consider our list of CPO pros and cons before making a final decision.
- Lower price. Since CPO vehicles are still used cars, they will be offered at a reduced price.
- Peace of mind. CPO vehicles undergo a rigorous inspection process, which reduces risk to the buyer. They are also offered with a manufacturer-backed warranty for maintenance and repairs.
- Nearly new. CPO cars are generally late-model, which means recent iterations, as opposed to older models which would presumably have more maintenance issues.
- Higher price. Yes, a certified pre-owned vehicle is less expensive than a new car but it’s more expensive than a used car. CPO prices fall somewhere in the middle.
- New car smell. If you’re the kind of person that feels particularly good about being the very first person to own a car, this might not be the best option for you.
- Buyer beware. Remember that someone has owned this vehicle before you and therefore something might go wrong. Yes, the inspection process certainly helps but there is no 100% guarantee.
Sekou is a NYC-based automotive blogger.