New Car Prices Averaged $33,299 Last Month

Americans are paying more for new vehicles these days. Some of this comes from manufacturers raising prices, but a lot of it boils down to people wanting fancier vehicles with the latest features.

Kelley Blue Book estimates that the average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles was up to $33,299 in February. That’s just the average price. It’s a lot of money, considering that it’s more than half of what the majority of American households earn in an entire year.

Manufacturers have been raising prices, to be sure. Even value brands like Hyundai and Kia are fetching higher prices, (up by 6.6% and 4.8% in February respectively, year over year).

But the bigger story isn’t just that manufacturers are charging more this year for the same vehicle, it’s that we’re choosing to buy fancier, more expensive models.

In fact, KBB said that, when it comes to average prices paid, automakers are getting a big benefit from having utility vehicles in their lineups.

Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book said, “In fact, American Honda increased 2.2 percent on average with help from strong demand for the CR-V, while Fiat Chrysler also gained on a stronger mix of Jeep and RAM sales compared to this time last year.”

We’re going bigger with our new vehicle choices these days, and paying more for the privilege. Americans are also bringing their tech-hungry ways into the showroom when they buy a new vehicle, and choosing vehicles with features like navigation systems, back-up cameras, Bluetooth connectivity and high-tech safety aids.

It’s all good, so long as we can keep up with the payments.

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