The 2016 average U.S. new-vehicle transaction price increased 2.7 percent from 2015 to an all-time high of $34,077 per vehicle, Edmunds.com reported Dec. 15.
Edmunds said in a statement that the rise in the average transaction price is a result of increased sales of light trucks, which tend to be pricier than cars. Through the first 11 months of this year, 62 percent of vehicles sold were light trucks.
With an increase in leasing and longer-term financing options, and lower interest rates, vehicles such as SUVs, crossovers and pickups become more accessible to consumers. Edmunds said it expects leasing -- now 31 percent of the new-car market -- and light-truck sales to grow in 2017. It estimates the average vehicle transaction price for 2017 to rise to $35,000.
Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of industry analysis, says the record vehicle transaction price is “yet another example” of how the demand for light trucks is changing the market and other parts of the auto industry. For example, Caldwell noted the affect light-truck demand is having on the used-vehicle market.
“The flip side of this trend is that higher prices are putting a bit of a squeeze on the market for lower-cost, used vehicles,” Caldwell said in statement. “Our data shows that more people are looking for affordable older vehicles [on Edmunds.com] than are actually sold, driving up values and demand.”
An Edmunds spokeswoman said used in-demand vehicles are especially vulnerable to price increases as consumers look for cheaper alternatives to the new vehicles.
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