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New Cars Are Finally Selling Below Sticker


It’s been a long two years, but new cars are finally selling below sticker price on average. It’s a sign the miserable car-buying market may be getting better for the average consumer. According to data from Kelley Blue Book, the average amount of money Americans spent on a new vehicle in March was $48,008. That works out to be $171 below the average new vehicle sticker price of $48,179.

It’s the first time that has happened in 20 months. To put that in perspective, average new car transactions were about $1,000 over sticker just one year ago, according to KBB. A big reason for the downturn in transaction prices is manufacturer incentives. Those hit 3.3 percent of the average transaction price. It works out to an average savings of a little over $1,500.

It’s not all great news. While prices did decline 1.1 percent in March as compared to February, they are still up when you look at March 2022. Prices are up 3.8 percent (about $1,800) since then.

Now we’re back to the good news – for manufacturers specifically. KBB says sales volumes were up 20 percent month over month and 8 percent year over year in March. Manufacturers mostly have an improved supply chain, a better mix of cheaper models, and strong fleet sales to thank for that fact.

Non-luxury brands like Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and VW saw average transaction prices decline between 0.2 and 3.8 percent in March. Not all automakers were in the same boat, though. Kia and Honda were both selling between 3 and 6 percent over sticker in March. All in all, the average translation price for non-luxury vehicles was $44,182 in March. That’s about $500 less than it was in February 2023.

However, luxury brands were in a bit of a different boat. Luxury sales now account for 18.2 percent of total vehicle sales, and that’s down about 1.3 percent from February. Buyers of luxury brands continue to pay over sticker for new vehicles at an average of $65,202. That’s down just $9 from February. KBB described the pricing breakdown as a “mixed bag.” Entry-level and high-end luxury cars, luxury compact SUVs, luxury midsize SUVs and luxury subcompact SUVs all saw prices decline somewhere between 0.5 and 1.4 percent. Meanwhile, luxury cars and luxury full-size SUVs saw prices increase between 0.8 and 1.6 percent.

It’s a similar story when it comes to EVs. The average price someone paid for a new electric vehicle in March 2023 was up $313 (0.5 percent) over February 2023. That comes out to an average new EV sale price of $58,940, according to KBB. It’s a surprising little twist when you consider the fact that Teslathe EV maker with the biggest piece of the pie by a mile – drastically cut prices in recent months. It seems that those cuts have been offset by price increases from Mercedes-Benz, Rivian, Lucid, and other brands.

It’s not much, but let’s just hope this overall trend continues.


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