According to data released by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company, the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle in the United States in November 2022 hit a new record high of $48,681. November prices rose 0.9% ($422) month over month from October 2022 and were up 4.4% ($2,250) from year-earlier levels.
According to Kelley Blue Book calculations, new-vehicle ATPs have been higher than the average manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) since July 2021. Sales volumes in November were up year over year by more than 11%, but down from October. The elevated prices and high loan rates are likely putting downward pressure on sales.
The transaction data from November clearly indicates that prices are showing no signs of coming down as we head into the holiday season. The mix of available vehicles still favors more expensive models and higher trim levels. In fact, average MSRP has increased more than average ATP year over year, indicating automakers are still building a richer mix of expensive models and fewer value vehicles.—Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive
According to Cox Automotive estimates, new-vehicle inventory is steadily improving, though some brands have a noticeably larger supply than others.
Strong luxury vehicle sales have been a primary reason for overall elevated new-vehicle prices. Luxury vehicle share remains historically high, increasing to 18.2% of total sales in November from 17.8% in October. The high share of luxury sales helps to push the overall industry ATP higher. In November 2019, the luxury share of the US market was 16.1%.
In November 2022, the average luxury buyer paid $67,050 for a new vehicle—a record high and up $405 from October. Buyers continue to pay more than MSRP for new luxury vehicles, although prices are trending closer to or below sticker prices in some luxury segments.
Porsche and Land Rover showed the most price strength in the luxury market, transacting between 2% to 6.4% above sticker price last month. Luxury brands Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lincoln, and Volvo showed the least price strength, selling 1% or more below MSRP in November.
The average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle in November was $44,584—also a record and higher by $330 month over month. The previous record high was recorded in August. On average, car shoppers in the non-luxury segment paid $410 above sticker price, a slight increase from October.
Most non-luxury brands had stable pricing or declines in November. Honda and Kia showed the most price strength in the non-luxury market, transacting between 6% to 8% over sticker price in November. Meanwhile, Buick showed the least price strength, selling 2% or more below MSRP in November.
The average price paid for a new EV increased in November by $1,172 (up 2%) compared to October and was up by 9% compared to a year ago in November 2021. The average new EV price was $65,041, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates, well above the industry average and aligning more with luxury prices versus mainstream prices.
Incentives remained stable in November 2022 at 2.2% of the average transaction price. In November 2021, incentives averaged 4.1% of ATP. In November 2019, before the pandemic and when inventory was plentiful, the average incentive package was 10.6% of ATP, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates. Luxury cars had the highest incentives in November at 4.8% of ATP. Meanwhile, vans, minivans and luxury full-size SUVs had the lowest incentives, all less than 1% of ATP.
Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index. US automobile dealer sentiment in the fourth quarter of 2022 dropped to the lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index (CADSI). At 43, the current market index is below the threshold of 50, indicating that more dealers view the current auto market as weak than strong. The index is down 6 points quarter over quarter, down 17 points year over year, and well below the pre-pandemic average of 48.
The current market index peaked at 67 in Q2 2021 and has been losing momentum every quarter since. US auto dealers indicate that their negative view of the market is influenced by the economy, higher interest rates and low inventory.