There are plenty of reasons why new car sales took a tumble last month – everything from a weak economy to a shortage of some popular Japanese vehicles. But pricing also appears to have been a significant issue, according to industry analysts, with Americans now paying more than ever for new cars, trucks and crossovers.
The average transaction price – what a typical customer actually pays, as opposed to sticker price or the low come-ons you might see advertised – surged to $29,817 in May, according to the data tracking service TrueCar.com. That was up a full $608, or 2.1%, from May 2010 and an increase of $215, or 0.7% over April of this year.
Significantly, prices rose sharply even though many buyers began shifting from larger to smaller vehicles in a bid for better mileage, analysts noted. Traditionally, U.S. motor vehicle prices are closely linked to the size of an automobile.
And while some potential buyers are rethinking their options, used car prices also are heading skyward.