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KBB: Average New-Vehicle Prices Rise to Record High in December

IRVINE, Calif. — Average transaction prices closed the year on a strong note, rising nearly 2% in December to a record high of $36,113, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) reported last week.

The increase from the year-ago average was actually 1.6%, or $583. Compared to November, December’s average transaction price was up $66, or 0.2%.

“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,” said KBB analyst Tim Fleming. “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.”

Transaction prices for all of 2017 also finished 2% higher than last year. However, the growth was slightly slower than the growth rate recorded in 2015 and 2016, which was at 2.5%.

American Honda’s transaction prices rose nearly 3% in December 2017, with the Honda brand up 4% and Acura flat. The CR-V, Honda’s top seller, continued its strong run with prices up 6%. In addition, the redesigned Honda Odyssey showed the most improvement, rising 14% to top the minivan segment.

Volkswagen Group saw the biggest jump among the major manufacturers, with average prices up 8%. The Volkswagen brand climbed 9%, thanks to its new SUVs, the Atlas and Tiguan, which also are gaining momentum. Porsche climbed 5% on the strength of its new Panamera. Audi was up 4%, with the redesigned A5 and Q5 each rising 10%.

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