New-vehicle transaction prices hit another all-time high in September 2021, marking the sixth straight record-setting month and surpassing $45,000 for the first time, according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book. At $45,031, the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle was up 12.1% (or $4,872) from one year ago in September 2020 and up 3.7% (or $1,613) from August 2021.
The all-time-high prices accompanied the fifth straight month of a slowing sales pace. Total sales last month numbered just 1,012,797, a 7.3% month-over-month decrease and one of the lowest volumes in the past decade. On top of supply dynamics, the vehicle mix shifted in September away from lower-priced sedans, compacts and entry-level segments toward more-expensive pickups, SUVs and the luxury market.
“The record-high prices in September are mostly a result of the mix of vehicles sold,” said Kayla Reynolds, analyst for Cox Automotive. “Midsize SUV sales jumped in September compared to August and full-size pickup share moved up as well. Sales of lower-priced compact and midsize cars, which had been commanding more share during the summer, faded in September. As long as new-vehicle inventory remains tight, we believe prices will remain elevated.”
Incentive spending fell in September to another record low, dropping to 5.2% of ATP last month, a decrease from 5.6% in August 2021 and well below the 10.0% of ATP recorded in September 2020. Porsche, Land Rover, Genesis, Subaru and Toyota had among the lowest incentive spend last month, all 3% of ATP or lower. On the other hand, Alfa Romeo, Buick, Fiat and Infiniti each had incentive levels above 10% of ATP.
ATPs in September continued to be driven higher by strong luxury vehicle sales. Luxury sales accounted for 16.6% of total market sales, up from 15.1% in September 2020. Luxury share in September was among the highest in the past decade, and luxury buyers paid an average of $60,845 for a new vehicle last month. Further, many luxury brands, notably Acura, Cadillac, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz, achieved year-over-year ATP gains in excess of 20%. Cadillac, for example, saw ATPs jump up more than 32% last month, reaching $81,939. Consumers continue to pay near $100,000 for a new Cadillac Escalade. More than 3,500 were sold in September 2021, a jump of more than 50% from August 2021.
About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week the company provides market-reflective values on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor tool, which provides a range for what consumers can reasonably expect to pay for a vehicle in their area. Car owners looking to sell immediately can also get a redeemable, transaction-ready offer with Kelley Blue BookSM Instant Cash Offer. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Kelley Blue Book is a Cox Automotive brand.
About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning and using vehicles easier for everyone. The global company’s more than 27,000 team members and family of brands, including Autotrader®, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Dickinson Fleet Services, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with annual revenues of nearly $20 billion. www.coxautoinc.com