Average new-car price up 2 percent year-over-year for August

(September 4, 2019) IRVINE, Calif. — The valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book today reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the United States was $37,401 in August. New-vehicle prices increased $723 (up 2%) from August 2018, while decreasing $54 (down 0.1%) from last month. 

"Although new-vehicle pricing growth has been strong this year, we've also seen greater incentives to offset rising monthly payments and move slower selling new-car inventories," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

"The ratio of incentives to average transaction prices has been above 10% this summer after being under that mark for the previous eight months, and August looks to be no different with numerous Labor Day incentive programs being run by manufacturers. If sales do not respond accordingly, we could see this trend continue for the remainder of the year."

Fiat Chrysler had another strong month, posting more than a 6% increase, thanks to RAM and Jeep. RAM prices grew by 4%, while Jeep rose nearly 7% on the strength of the Wrangler and Gladiator. Gladiator prices are finally averaging below $50,000, but it still sits more than $10,000 above the next closest mid-size truck. Dodge also had a good month, rising 5% as the Challenger and Charger showed solid improvement.

Ford was up 3% in August, with the Lincoln brand rising the most at 5%. Lincoln is benefitting from its new products, as the Nautilus jumped 5% and the refreshed MKC rose 3%. Meanwhile, the Aviator is off to a strong start as it averaged north of $70,000. The redesigned Explorer saw the biggest improvement for Ford, rising 8%, while the refreshed Edge had a solid gain of 5%.