What it is: A monthly forecast of the average new-vehicle price paid by U.S. consumers across 12 auto manufacturers. TrueCar also forecasts a monthly average across the industry. Current-month data is presented alongside a comparison with the previous and year-ago months to show the percentage increase or decrease in average prices paid.
Where it comes from: TrueCar uses data from its network of 10,000 dealers in the U.S. to calculate average transaction prices, or ATP. TrueCar also says its insights come from an analysis of industry sales trends and conditions.
How it's used: ATP data is used to show the threshold that consumers are willing to pay for a new vehicle during a given period of time, which could reflect external macroeconomic factors impacting the industry, including interest rates, inflation, income and unemployment levels. The microchip shortage coupled with the sharp increase in demand following the pandemic created an imbalance in supply and demand, for example, which caused ATP to spike because consumers were willing to pay more than MSRP to acquire vehicles when inventories were constrained.
How it might be misused: The data could be used to convince consumers to feel more comfortable paying above sticker. Additionally, there are more than 16,572 franchised new-car dealers in the U.S., according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. If TrueCar is only analyzing data from its 10,000 dealers, it's missing 40 percent of the market.