Average new car transaction prices set another record in June

When does a rising tide become a flood?

Industry data compiled and parsed by KBB declared a record for average new car transaction prices in May at $41,263. That represented an Olympic high jump of $2,125, or 5.4%, over May 2020, and a bump of $493, or 1.2%, over April 2021. KBB ended up revising May's final figure up to $42,330, making the difference even larger. The number crunchers have released their conclusions for June, finding transaction prices rising again to $42,258. That's another record according to KBB's data, as well as being a 6.36% superhero leap over June 2020 and a 2.24% rise over May 2021. The only brand that didn't register a year-on-year transaction price increase in June was Tesla — the same happened in May — but that could be down to Tesla not reporting its Model S and Model X prices. The only segments to see price declines compared to June of last year were battery electric vehicles (-13.4%), high performance cars (-9.4%) and vans (-1.1%).

Relative to May 2021, only Daimler (-3.2%) and Tesla (-9.1%) endured transaction price declines. The only segments to get less money over the table in June compared to May were EVs (-5.6%), full-sized crossovers and SUVs (-1.10%), luxury cars (-2.3%) and vans (-0.20%).

The biggest gainers this year compared to June last year are Stellantis, GM, Mitsubishi and Subaru, all posting double-digit advances. Ford's just behind at 9.6%, probably a factor of not being able to sell the thousands of F-150s parked in various lots in the Midwest; America's best-selling vehicle sales dropped nearly 30% in June compared to last year thanks to chip shortages. A surprising note: The biggest segment gainers this year compared to June last year are mid-sized crossovers and SUVs (17.8%), mid-sized cars (11.3%), full-sized cars (10.5%) and luxury full-sized crossovers and SUVs (10.3%).  

Using a different formula than KBB, analysts at J.D. Power and LMC Automotive arrived at different average transaction prices. J.D. Power and LMC's numbers are usually a little lower then KBB's, yet still record-breaking according to their methodology. Their bottom line registers a $40,206 average sale price in June. They also say trucks and SUVs account for about 75.9% of the roughly $45 billion shoppers blew on cars in June, numbers that have also grown due to far less money in incentives. J.D. Power and LMC say automaker incentive spending dropped an average of $2,492, down from $4,349 in June 2020 and $3,966 in June 2019. 

With the industry not expected to recover from its present turbulence before the end of the year — at the earliest — don't be surprised by July setting more records.

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