Female car buyer looks at new vehicle

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.