Remember “sticker shock”? After several years of heavily discounting their products in a desperate bid to keep assembly lines rolling, automakers are finding themselves back in the driver’s seat once again – pushing prices to record levels.
And it’s “not a blip,” warns one senior analyst, who expects the trend to continue for several years. The good news for shoppers is that trade-ins are also yielding better prices – and while that new car, truck or crossover may command more money than ever before it’s also likely to include significantly more features and markedly better fuel economy than the vehicle it replaces.
The average new vehicle sold in the U.S. in March cost $30,748, according to data tracking service TrueCar.com. That was up from $28,771 a year earlier and marks an all-time record.
“It’s not a blip. It’s a trend we’ve been seeing for months,” said Jesse Toprak, TrueCar’s chief automotive analyst. That’s despite the fact, he says, that “This might seem counter-intuitive at a time you might expect to see people buying cheaper cars because fuel costs are rising so fast.”