Editor's note: The value of the new and used-vehicle market in the U.S. -- $1.18 trillion -- was misstated in an earlier version of this story.
TOKYO -- China may be the world’s biggest auto market, but the U.S. is still the richest when it comes to the value of new sales.
According to a study by TrueCar Inc., the total value of new-vehicle sales in the U.S. still exceeded the total value in China by as much as $161 billion last year.
That’s despite rapidly growing China’s sales of some 19.7 million new autos in 2014, compared with the 16.5 million new cars and trucks sold stateside, according to TrueCar.
The difference: Average prices in the U.S. soar above those in China, where the typical consumer commands nowhere near the purchasing power of his richer American counterpart.
In China, the average new vehicle’s manufacturer suggested retail price comes to $20,805, based on a TrueCar survey of some 705 models and trim levels there. In the U.S., it’s $34,537.
Those prices delivered $570.9 billion in total value of new-vehicle sales in the U.S. but only $409.9 billion in China.
The tallies show why the U.S., which has trailed China in new unit sales every year since 2009, is still a force to be reckoned with. Automakers know there are still fat margins to be had. And moreover, they don’t have to split the proceeds with a joint-venture partner, as they are forced to do in China.
“While the growth of China’s new-vehicle market over the last decade has been impressive, the total value of that market remains considerably lower than the U.S. and will remain so for some time,” TrueCar President John Krafcik said in a statement.
The pricing gulf widens when China’s domestic brands are cleaved from the international ones doing business there.
The average price for domestic brands is just $15,706 while foreign brands can command an average of $32,278, TrueCar said.
And adding used cars, the U.S. is No. 1 -- in size and value.
Combined U.S. sales of new and used vehicles totaled a whopping 53.5 million units last year, TrueCar notes. That was more than double the combined new and used tally of 25.7 million in China.
And the value of those U.S. sales, again, blew out China’s.
The overall new and used market in the U.S. generated some $1.18 trillion in sales. In China, it was just $468.5 billion.