It’s a tough spring for U.S. car buyers. Not only are many popular models in short supply but prices are heading up – fast.
The latest maker to bump up sticker prices is Ford, which says it will tack another $124, or 0.4%, onto the sticker of its average model. That might not cause much pain were it not for the fact that it’s the third time since January Ford has raised prices, its average vehicle now costing $375, or 1.3%, more than at the end of 2010.
Ford officials point the finger at steel, rubber and other commodities, where costs have risen sharply in recent months.
Most major makers have been raising prices this year, in part due to commodity price hikes but also because the industry is finally trying to regain some pricing momentum after several years of painful restraint. Manufacturers were loath to risk angering consumers during one of the worst sales downturns since the Great Depression.
“This time, the price hikes are likely to stick,” said Rod Lache, analyst with Deutsche Bank.