If you've looked into purchasing a new car recently, we likely don't need to tell you prices are plenty lofty. According to TrueCar.com's data, the average selling price of a new car sold here in the U.S. last month was $30,748, marking an all-time record (last year's figure was just $28,771). While buyers are currently looking toward smaller, less expensive and more fuel-efficient models, overall vehicle sales have jumped ahead of the rest of the slowly recovering economy. In addition, manufacturers are keeping production more in line with demand, resulting in significantly scaled-back incentives.

As a result, the average transaction price has inched skyward even in the face of an uncertain economy and escalating fuel prices. In addition, small cars now carry significantly more content than before and prices to match, and crossovers just keep getting more and more popular. Buyers have proven none too wary of optioning B and C-segment vehicles well above MSRPs typically seen on mid-sized fare, and used car fleets are thin, raising prices and pushing buyers toward new cars instead. According to CNW Marketing, consumers now routinely option a vehicle to within 86 percent of the fully loaded cost.


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  • 131 Comments
      MJC
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, in summary, many Americans are buying cars that they can't really afford... because that worked so well with houses. I can't believe the people I hear about who are buying luxury cars and financing 100% of the sales price for 7 years. A more irresponsible financial decision does not exist...
      Alex740
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does anyone else think this is at least partly why the average age of a car on the road today is at a high of 11 years? I've casually shopped for a new car and have been surprised at how expensive non luxury cars have become, I'm now holding onto my perfectly good 9 yo car as long as I can and will be buying used when the time comes. I can do far better things with $500 a month.
        Brian_E
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Alex740
        Agreed! The way prices are going, I'll be handing down my car to my 2 year old!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      mylexicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      What did the housing market just teach us about this trend? Unless the auto industry has spiking luxury sales or spiking fleet fuel economy (more than 1 mpg per year), the auto industry is committing suicide......again. Oh well. I'll just keep my cash on the sideline and let the industry implode until prices ease. Nothing says American Dream like profiting from the misery of your compatriots. The average car price is now on par with median household income, which has been stagnant since 1990 (inflation adjusted). Nice. Competition puts downward pressure on profits (and often prices) so executives flood the industry with cheap credit to increase demand and purchasing power. It almost worked during the 00's. I'm sure they'll get it right this time.
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mylexicon
        And eager buyers fall for it, every time. Pawns of the manufacturers and advertisers, they never learn!!
      Avalon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Came here for the pic (and car news second), but all these political BS on a NON Political board is just full of it. Go back to Huffington Post or CNN to Duke it out there, trolls.
      donnieorama
      • 2 Years Ago
      That might be a tad outside my price range. But then again, the $10,990 Versa sedan looks mighty tantalizing to me. It even has A/C.
      Generic
      • 2 Years Ago
      The ideal of a 6 and 7 year car loan used to be unheard of too. I kinda feel like car prices have ballooned to a point where people buy them because they need transportation, but they should really be spending as much as they are and just getting longer loans then they should. Wonder if the car market can crash like the housing market. Giving loans to people who can't really afford them, selling cars for more then they should be, etc. At some point, the trend is going to have to snap.
        AMG THIS
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        SAAR was 16 million pre-recession, its 13 million now..so 3 million people are still out of work or just not buying etc. Its better than it was though! Dropped to 10 million back in 08 and companies that needed a 16 million SAAR to barely stay in business quickly went "breasts up" (GM).
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          BG
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Generic, if a person can't handle a new car with a 2 or 3-year loan, BUY USED!!
        Making11s
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        The biggest problem with the housing market was the stated income loan. As long as they are making buyers prove income, they'll never face as big a crash as the housing market.
      adam1keith1980
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you search and negotiate hard enough, there are always some new last year stocks that can be purchased at reasonable prices if paid with cash. I brought my current car for about 25 percent off the sticker, which I think is reasonable IMO. (Not good, just reasonable.) Today’s cars, especially luxury cars, are full of electronics and expensive to fix after their warranties end, so they don’t last as long despite they are more expensive than ever before. I think 20 percent off any sticker price is starting to be reasonable.
      Master Austin
      • 2 Years Ago
      To add, while transaction prices are up, people are also keeping cars a bit longer than usual, so maybe some figure, "well if i'm going to be stuck for it for awhile, load it up with toys and enjoy"...
        Nemebean
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Master Austin
        That's a good point. It's a lot cheaper to buy something you'll be happy with for a long time than to upgrade in a few years. Not a new concept (people buying tools have known this for a long time), but with the bad economy more people may be realizing that it applies to cars too.
      bjg1765
      • 2 Years Ago
      I bought my first new vehicle in 1985 for $5,775 out the door, a chevy S-10. That same vehicle today is almost $20,000. The prices of new cars has tripled in the past 25 years as has the cost of living, gas, and just about everything else but the minimum wage. I bought my first new car when I was 20 years old and making $6 an hour, I dont know how kids today can afford a new car. Even if you bought a cheap car on the low end pricing of $15000 and got 0% interest for 60 months the monthly payment would still be $250 a month. Young couples with a child or 2 and barely scraping buy will never be able to buy a new car. The average single person making $10 an hour and paying rent and other nescessities will never be able to afford a new car and there are alot of people out there that dont make $10 an hour. The prices of new cars has gone insane just like the price of gas to operate.
        Polly Prissy Pants
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bjg1765
        In 1982, minimum wage was $3.35 and a stripped Honda Accord went for $9995. Today minimum wage is $7.25 and a better equipped and vastly superior 2012 Corolla costs $18,000. You do the math. The problem is nobody wants a Corolla, they want an A4 with leather a BT and nav and all that then bitch because they can't afford it.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bjg1765
        Someone making 10 bucks an hour should probably be looking at used cars anyway, if they even have money to spend on a car after paying rent. I mean are people making minimum wage really the lifeblood of the car industry? Not sure that it would make sense for all those prices to parallel minimum wage. If you look at college educated or skilled labor positions, pay for those have generally gone up. In 1985 I'm sure $40k would have been a great salary, where things have moved forward and now that's a good salary for professionals starting out. They weren't making that in '85 when cars were that cheap. Don't get me wrong, stuff is getting crazy expensive, but it's not accurate to just look at it in relation to where minimum wage has gone. By that logic people would be making 30 bucks an hour if they were making a few bucks over minimum wage. Then again I guess that would be okay cause theoretically I would be making $25k+ or more a year with my college education.
      Fobunited
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does the total price include interest from financing?
      Matthew
      • 2 Years Ago
      They need to make them like the Model A Ford again. No electronic crap. No pollution crap. No safety crap. No unnecessary anything. Just a plain old automobile.
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