Average Transaction Prices Cross $31,000 In March, Incentives Keep Declining

April 4, 2013

Earlier this week, we told you about the extraordinary stats for March car sales. What's notable, though, isn't just the number of vehicles that automakers sold that month, but also the prices at which they've been selling.

According to TrueCar, the average transaction price for a new car in March was $31,087. That's $339 higher than March 2012 and up $129 from February of this year.


In terms of transaction prices, the highest of the high was Volkswagen/Audi, with an average of $33,871. General Motors came in a close second, with Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC sales averaging $33,088 per vehicle (though it bears mentioning that that figure is 0.6% below March 2012). Ford/Lincoln came in third at $32,914.

At the cheaper end of the scale, we find Hyundai/Kia, which clocked average prices of $22,646. That's not too surprising, since neither is associated with a luxury or near-luxury brand. Honda/Acura were on the penultimate rung at $27,141.

And although Toyota/Lexus/Scion saw relatively low transaction prices of $28,892, that's actually up 5.5% from March 2012 -- the biggest percentage jump among all major automakers.


On the whole, incentives for new cars were down just a bit in March 2013, settling at $2,523, or 1.7% below last year.

The biggest loser by far was Honda, which shaved 31% off its incentives from March 2012. Back then, Honda offered customers incentives totaling $2,220 per vehicle, but this year, that figure tumbled to $1,531.

On the other hand, Hyundai and Kia both upped their incentives, spending an average of $1,369 per vehicle. That's up 10.6% from a year ago.

And for better or worse, Chrysler took top honors in terms of price-to-incentive ratio. The company's $3,264 incentives accounted for 10.9% of its $29,890 average transaction price.

The moral of the story? As long as sales remain strong, prices will likely keep climbing, and incentives should stay fairly flat. Which raises the question: how long will sales stats keep climbing? More on that tomorrow.


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