U.S. new-vehicle transaction prices hit record high in December

Last month, December 2022, the average transaction price for a new vehicle in the United States reached a record high of $49,507. This represents an increase of 1.9% ($927) from November 2022, and an increase of 4.9% ($2,297) from year-earlier levels.

The information was provided by Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book. They noted that, while new-vehicle inventory levels increased from historic lows earlier last year, prices are still up.

“The transaction data from December clearly indicates overall prices showed no signs of coming down as we headed into year-end,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive.

New-vehicle average transaction prices have hovered above the average sticker price for more than a year. And although luxury prices in particular were down in December, strong brand sales (reaching a record 18.6% share of total sales) helped lift the overall industry’s average transaction price; they are the main reason overall new-vehicle prices are higher.

Overall, Rydzewski said luxury prices fell slightly in December, but non-luxury transaction prices were up. Consumers paid on average $45,578 for a new non-luxury vehicle in December, which KBB said is a record high from August 2022 — up $994 month-over-month.

“Truck sales were particularly strong last month, and with many trucks selling for more than $60,000, a new record was all but inevitable,” said Rydzewski.

More than 270,000 trucks were sold for the first time since the spring of 2021. The best-selling vehicle in the U.S. right now is the Ford F-Series pickup truck. Last month, more than 75,000 F-Series trucks were sold — its best month in 2022.

In the electric vehicle (EV) segment, the average price paid was down 5.5% during the same December period, compared to November. EV prices declined $3,500 month-over-month as Tesla cut prices to help boost sales at the end of 2022. Earlier in the year, the company had increased prices. (Tesla commands more than 65% of the EV segment, according to KBB.)

“Incentives overall are still very low but trending upwards. Electric vehicles and luxury cars had incentives close to 6% of ATP, and both saw ATP decline in December as a result,” said Rydzewski. “Plus, with the new tax credits on the way, electric vehicle ATPs will drop lower for qualifying vehicles.”

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