New car prices are ticking up yet again, and the average buyer is spending nearly $900 above sticker price this spring. But if you know where to look, there are a few auto brands whose vehicles are still selling for below MSRP.
The average sales price for new car buyers rose to $46,526 in April, according to data released Tuesday from Kelley Blue Book (KBB). That’s a $304 increase from the previous month and a $5,354 spike from last April.
The highest average price for a new vehicle ever recorded by KBB was $47,064, logged last December — a time of year when expensive, luxury vehicles dominate sales and tend to drive up the average. Prices started to dip early in the first quarter of 2022 but are once again on the rise, approaching the record high.
Supply chain issues continue to roil the auto industry, and dealers are all but nixing discounts these days. To combat supply snarls, they’ve been selling more luxury models than usual, which has contributed to surging prices.
Dealerships have also simply been asking people to pay higher prices for new cars, and desperate buyers have had no choice but to oblige. Up until 2021, new vehicles usually sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars below the sticker price. Contrast that to February, when auto research firm Edmunds said a record 82.2% of new-car buyers paid above MSRP.
Unfortunately, paying above the sticker price is now the norm.
In April, the average buyer spent $862 above MSRP for a new vehicle, KBB says. Many popular vehicles are commanding even bigger markups. For example, the average Nissan sold for $1,191 above asking price, while Hondas were rolling off the lots for an average of $2,730 over MSRP.
“For nearly a year now, we’ve seen new vehicles transacting above suggested retail prices,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, an economic researcher for Cox Automotive, in a statement. Cox Automotive is the parent company of KBB.
For months, out-of-control auto prices have been contributing to four-decade-high inflation rates. On Wednesday, the Labor Department said the price of a new vehicle rose 13.2% in April from the year prior, while prices were up 22.7% for used vehicles.
New cars selling above (and below) the sticker price
According to KBB data shared with Money, how much you pay over sticker price largely depends on the make of the vehicle. In a few cases, you might still be able to eke out a deal under MSRP.
Here are the makes that are selling well above sticker price, by percentage:
Average Honda price: $35,132 — 8.4% above MSRP
Average Land Rover price: $92,311 — 8.1% above MSRP
Average Kia price: $34,908 — 7.9% above MSRP
Average Mercedes price: $76,086 — 5.8% above MSRP
Average Hyundai price: $35,657 — 5.4% above MSRP
On the other end of the spectrum, a few brands are actually selling below the suggested retail price:
Average Alfa Romeo price: $53,330 — 3.2% below MSRP
Average Fiat price: $29,220 — 1.5% below MSRP
Average Lincoln price: $61,702 — 1.2% below MSRP
Average Ram price: $60,245 — 0.9% below MSRP
Average Buick price: $38,967 — 0.9% below MSRP
Of all makes and models, buyers who purchased Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio SUV saw the biggest discount in April, 4% off MSRP for an average price of $53,787.
The biggest splurgers? Folks who bought the boxy Mercedes-Benz G-Class. They paid $225,314 on average. That’s about 31% above the already meaty sticker price of $172,249.
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