New-Car Transaction Prices Up 2 Percent In March 2016

IRVINE, Calif., April 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The analysts at Kelley Blue Book, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, today report the estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the United States was $33,666 in March 2016. New-car prices have increased by $645 (up 2 percent) from March 2015, while remaining flat from last month.

"March average transaction prices reveal continued increases for nearly every manufacturer, with the industry average up 2 percent year-over-year," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "While this may seem like good news for automakers and dealers, incentive spending continues to rise within the industry and offset part of this strength. Also, to afford the growing monthly payments, more consumers are financing these vehicles for 72 and 84 months, which will likely delay the purchase cycle for their next vehicle." 

Fiat Chrysler transaction prices had the largest percentage increase of the major automakers at 3.3 percent year-over-year growth in March 2016. The Dodge brand jumped 5 percent on strong gains from the Challenger (up 9 percent) and Charger (up 7 percent), while the RAM brand grew 5 percent on a higher mix of pricier crew cab configurations for its pickup truck. Toyota Motor Company also had a great month, increasing average transaction prices by 3.1 percent year-over-year. The Toyota brand was up 4.7 percent, with increases on every model except the discontinued Venza. The Tacoma had the largest increase at 11 percent. Additionally, Lexus was up 2.7 percent, with the new RX rising 6 percent to an average transaction price of $50,713. However, not all brands fared well.   

"Volkswagen Group average transaction prices were down 4.5 percent as all of its brands fell year-over-year," said Fleming. "The Volkswagen brand fell the most, down 7 percent, as each model in its lineup was down from last year. The Jetta and Passat, two models affected by the brand's diesel crisis, both were down 9 percent."