Transaction price of new vehicle reaches all-time high in October

(November 2, 2017) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The average transaction price of a new vehicle hit a record $35,428 in October, according to the analysts at Edmunds. This is a 2 percent increase compared to October of 2016 and an 12 percent increase compared to October of 2012.

The average down payment on a new car also reached record territory in October, hitting $3,966. This is up $374 compared to October of 2016 and $454 from five years ago.

"The shift away from passenger cars in favor of trucks and SUVs is impacting all facets of the auto market," said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds.

"Interest rates are rising and bigger vehicles have higher price tags, but so far car shoppers don't seem to be shying away from putting more money down or having a higher monthly payment to drive the vehicle they want."

Despite strong demand for trucks and SUVs, automakers are struggling to move lagging 2017 inventory off dealer lots. In October, 72 percent of new vehicles sold were 2017 model year, while last October, 60 percent of new vehicles sold were 2016 model year. Five years ago, only 46 percent of the new vehicles sold in October were from the 2012 model year.

Incentives last month remained at a near-record high of $3,472 per vehicle; however, Edmunds analysts say automakers are going to have to be even more aggressive if they want to move inventory.

"Clearing out old inventory is expensive, especially when automakers are forced to deeply discount passenger cars, which already have thin profit margins," Caldwell said. "With two months left in the year and this much inventory remaining, we expect to see some very creative year-end sales events to entice car shoppers."