Average New Car Price Reaches $34,077

The average new vehicle transaction price will hit an all-time high in 2016 of $34,077 per vehicle, a 2.7 percent increase from 2015 and a 12.6 percent increase from 2011, according to analysis from car information network Edmunds.com. In 2017, Edmunds predicts that the average vehicle transaction price will further increase to $35,000.

“Although automakers have ushered in a crop of smaller, lower-priced vehicles, strong market demand for SUVs and trucks have caused overall prices to rise,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. “This is yet another example of how trucks and SUVs are driving change in the market and influencing every part of the industry.”

Edmunds attributes this rise in prices primarily to the recent sales growth in light trucks, which currently comprise 62 percent of the market. Light trucks are generally more expensive and have more options than passenger cars, and leasing is making these higher-priced vehicles more accessible. Coming off of a record year in 2016, leasing is 31 percent of the new car market and is expected to continue to grow in 2017. Longer finance terms and historically low interest rates are also helping more car shoppers stretch their budgets to lease more expensive vehicles.

“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,” said Caldwell. “Our data shows that more people are looking for affordable older vehicles than are actually sold, driving up values and demand.”