The average transaction price for a new vehicle in January was $34,968. That’s the latest from analysts at Kelley Blue Book, who note that this figure is up $1,123 — more than 3 percent — over the same month last year. In other words, cars are getting more expensive, and people seem to be spending more money on new models.
Although the average new-car transaction price in January 2017 was down $453 from last month’s figure of $35,421, it’s still part of a general upward trend of rising prices. Natural inflation contributes to this increase, of course, but Kelley Blue Book suggests part of the increase is also due to strong sales of SUVs and trucks, which generally command higher prices than cars.
Not surprisingly, the “Big Three” American automakers — Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler — benefited most from the increased transaction prices, as they offer more trucks and SUVs than most other automakers. Fiat Chrysler and Ford in particular saw transaction prices increase more than 5 percent year over year, outpacing the national average. Volkswagen Group, on the other hand, saw its transaction prices decline by nearly 8 percent, likely the result of abandoning pricey diesel models and offering discounts to help spur sales in the wake of its recent scandal.
Interestingly, while SUV and truck transaction prices grew in the last year, the minivan segment experienced the highest growth between January 2016 and last month, around 4 percent. This is likely in part due to a redesigned version of Chrysler’s minivan, now called the Pacifica, which has resulted in an increase in demand and thus higher pricing.