The average transaction price for a new vehicle reached $36,113 in December in the U.S., a 1.6% increase from the same time last year and a 0.2% increase from the previous month, according to Kelley Blue Book.
New vehicle transaction prices for 2017 as a whole were 2% higher than in 2016.
The Volkswagen Group realized the biggest increase in transaction price with average transaction prices for new vehicles 8.1% higher than the same time last December. The company’s new SUVs such as the Atlas and Tiguan were noted as major catalysts for that growth.
American Honda, Ford Motor Co., and Toyota Motor Co., also saw healthy growth in transaction price at 2.5%, 2.5%, and 2.7%, respectively, according to KBB.
Looking at vehicle segments, high-end luxury cars realized the highest growth in transaction price year-over-year. Crossovers — both luxury and non-luxury version — and trucks also continued to do well. Vans and sports cars also saw growth in transaction prices.
The one segment to see the biggest decline in average transaction price among all vehicles during December was the subcompact car.
“Average transaction prices closed the year on a strong note, rising nearly 2% in December 2017 to set a record high,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Incentive spending was a concern in 2017, averaging 10.4% of MSRP, but encouragingly, this figure held relatively flat over the final quarter of the year. In 2018, interest rate hikes could be another concern, as they threaten to increase monthly payments for consumers; however, Kelley Blue Book anticipates they will help contribute to another down year of new-vehicle sales more than impact prices, which have steadily risen along with the economy since the recession.”