China may be the world's biggest new-car market, but the United States is still the richest.
Last year, some 19.7 million new light vehicles were sold in China, compared with 16.5 million here. But according to a new study by TrueCar, the total value of sales in the United States exceeded that of China by as much as $161 billion.
That's because average prices in the United States are way higher than in China, where consumers command nowhere near the purchasing power of their American counterparts.
In China, the average new vehicle's sticker 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 new-vehicle sales in the United States and $409.9 billion 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," said TrueCar President John Krafcik.
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 are priced at an average of $32,278, TrueCar said.