Automotive News' price analysis for the 2006 model year encompassed 1,533 cars and light trucks that accounted for 99.5 percent of all the new vehicles sold in the United States during the past year.
Twenty-six models from eight exotic and superluxury makes were excluded because their volume is minimal and their pricing has virtually no effect on the market as a whole. They are Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Maybach, Maserati, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Lotus.
The study compared current stickers with those in effect in May 2005. Every number in the analysis is sales-weighted, which means the price of every model is accorded the value represented by its market share.
For example, the Ford Focus last year accounted for 7.0 percent of Ford division sales, 6.3 percent of Ford Motor Co.'s North American sales, 1.9 percent of Detroit 3 sales and 1.1 percent of industry sales. The Focus was reduced $604 during the 2006 model year.
That figure was applied to each of the four market-segment numbers to determine the impact of the Focus reduction on pricing in each segment.
The question is sometimes asked: "Why bother with sticker prices? Transaction prices are the true measure of a vehicle's value and desirability."
The answer is that the sticker is the only valid means of comparing prices on a national basis. Transaction prices, even for identical vehicles, will vary from area to area. But the sticker price is the same in Boston as it is in Minneapolis or Los Angeles.
You may e-mail John K. Teahen Jr. at [email protected]