U.S. new vehicle prices reach all-time high in September

New vehicle prices in the United States reached another all-time high in September 2021 for the sixth consecutive month, while also surpassing $45,000 for the first time, according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book.

At $45,031, KBB said the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle was up 12.1% (or $4,872) from September 2020, and up 3.7% (or $1,613) from August 2021.

“The record-high prices in September are mostly a result of the mix of vehicles sold,” said Kayla Reynolds, analyst for Cox Automotive. “Midsize SUV sales jumped in September compared to August and full-size pickup share moved up as well. Sales of lower-priced compact and midsize cars, which had been commanding more share during the summer, faded in September.”

Reynolds said as long as new vehicle inventory remains tight, KBB believes prices will remain elevated.

The company said in its news release that incentive spending declined in September to another record low (down to 5.2% of ATP last month)—a decrease from 5.6% last month and well below the 10.0% of ATP from September 2020.

Porsche, Land Rover, Genesis, Subaru and Toyota all had among the lowest incentive spend last month—all 3% of ATP or lower. Alfa Romeo, Buick, Fiat and Infiniti each had incentive levels above 10% of ATP.

KBB said ATPs in September were driven higher by strong luxury vehicle sales—sales which accounted for 16.6% of total market sales—which is up from 15.1% in September of last year.

“Luxury share in September was among the highest in the past decade, and luxury buyers paid an average of $60,845 for a new vehicle last month,” said KBB. “Further, many luxury brands, notably Acura, Cadillac, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz, achieved year-over-year ATP gains in excess of 20%. Cadillac, for example, saw ATPs jump up more than 32% last month, reaching $81,939.”

KBB said more than 3,500 were sold in September 2021, which is an increase of more than 50% from last month.

* Kelley Blue Book average transaction prices do not include applied consumer incentives. ** Tesla Motors did not wholly report price numbers for their model lineup. This heavily skewed the manufacturer’s average transaction price comparisons year-over-year and month-over-month.

* Kelley Blue Book average transaction prices do not include applied customer incentives.

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