Average new car transaction price rises slightly to $48,281 in October

Mass-market buyers still paying $690 over MSRP, luxury segment still strong

2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T
2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T
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The initial numbers are in for October's average new car transaction price (ATP). According to figures crunched by Cox Automotive's Kelley Blue Book, the sums are up for luxury and non-luxury vehicles, albeit only slightly compared to September, and still not as high as August. Across all segments, customers paid $48,281 on average for a new car, $187 more than they did in September, $120 less than they did in August. Year-over-year, October 22 was up 3.8% over October 2021, well down on September's 6.1% year-over-year change compared to 2021. However, inflation was starting to get its claws into everything about this time last year, so we're comparing one historically high tide to another historically high tide. KBB said October is the 17th straight month consumers paid over sticker, a record length of time to throw extra money at dealers.

Keep in mind, these ATP figures are estimates and liable to updates as more data comes in. Cox Automotive told us it "reports the previous month's numbers on about the 10th day after the previous month’s close and, at the same time, updates and revises the data for prior months. After about 3 months have passed, the data is stable, and revisions are rare. Because these are estimates, the long-term trends are the key takeaways from the reports."

Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive, said, "The sales and transaction data from October clearly indicates that there are plenty of flush-with-cash buyers with strong credit still in the market and paying top dollar for new vehicles." Luxury buyers accounted for 17.8% of overall buyers for the month, continuing their elevated market share and continuing to raise the overall ATP. They forked over $66,645 on average for a new car, an average of $331 more than they did the month prior even though some luxury segments are retreating back to their MSRPs. This time it was BMW and Porsche playing Rumpelstiltskin and making all the hay, selling at up to 5.5% over sticker, while Acura, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz topped out at 1% over sticker when lucky.  

EV buyers maintained their luxury-like grip on ATPs, but climbed way down from September's ATP, finally going below $65,000 to register $64,249. That's up 7% compared to last October, but down 2.4% compared to September. 

The meat-and-potatoes buyers are still content to shell out more than the Monroney asks, paying an average of $690 over MSRP. The average non-luxury new car price checked in at $44,288, $142 more than in September. Honda, Hyundai, and Kia sold at up 4% to 8% over MSRP in October, while Buick led the declines at just 1% over sticker or less.

Incentives are still down as well, but inventory is up and KBB indicates there are deals to be had for the buyers who need to get into something before the end of 2022. Rydzewski said, "If consumers are flexible on make and model, it will be possible to find a good deal at year-end sales events."

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