Tag Archive | "Kelley Blue Book"

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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Average Transaction Price Rises in January


IRVINE, Calif. — The average transaction for a new vehicle increased by $1,123, or 3.3%, from a year ago to $34,968, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates. The average, however, was down by $453, or 1.3%, from December 2016.

Driving the year-over-year strength in pricing was a sales mix in favor of utility vehicles, with the Detroit Three among the greatest beneficiaries, the vehicle information site said.

“The changing mix of sales in favor of utility vehicles is the primary driver for the year-over-year strength, as average prices in SUV segments climbed modestly, while the prices of subcompact SUVs declined,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Demand for subcompact SUVs, one of the hottest segments in 2016, appears to be slowing down, although new models from Ford, Nissan and Toyota could help spark interest in the segment.”

The Detroit Three continue to perform well with some of the greatest year-over-year increases. In particular, General Motors climbed 4% in January 2017, as all of its brands reported increases in transaction prices. Cadillac had the greatest gain at 7%, thanks to the new CT6 sedan and XT5 crossover.  Chevrolet rose 3%, with the new generation Camaro showing the most improvement, up 10% year-over-year.  GMC increased 5% on a strong mix of its full-size SUVs, the Yukon and Yukon XL.

Nissan North America also continues to show gains in average transaction price, which was up 5% for January 2017. A sales mix in favor of SUVs and trucks is partially responsible, as well as the new Armada SUV, which recorded an average transaction price increase of 18%. The new Titan also is performing well, up 9%. Infiniti climbed 2% with help from the Q50 (up 9%) and its new lineup of engines, including the 400 horsepower Red Sport trim.

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KBB: Average Transaction Price Climbs to Record High in December


IRVINE, Calif. — The estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States reached an all-time record high of $35,309 in December, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB). This increase, the auto firm added, amounted to a 1.5% increase over the same time last year.

Virtually all vehicle OEM recorded increases in average transaction prices, with Fiat Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and Nissan North America leading the way. However, KBB noted that just as new prices have grown, so have incentives.

“Even though transaction prices are at an all-time high, incentives have grown similarly to counterbalance the increased prices,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  “Higher average transaction prices are reflective of the rapid shift in consumer demand away from cars and into trucks and utility vehicles, which are more expensive. Should the sales mix of cars to SUVs reach a stable point in the near future, actual transaction price growth could match or fall just short of inflation.”

For Fiat Chrysler, average vehicle transaction prices rose 3.3%, driven primarily by the automaker’s Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands. The strength of the Pacifica minivan propelled average transaction prices for the Chrysler brand up 10%, as did fewer sales of the brand’s 200 Sedan. The Dodge brand was up 5% on a lower mix of its compact car, the Dart, and strong performance from the Charger. The average for the Jeep brand was up 2% thanks to a strong month from the refreshed Grand Cherokee.

“December was an interesting month for FCA. Though the Jeep and Ram brands are up, incentives are high, and vehicles such as the Cherokee saw big drops. Jeep has to hope its 2017 redesigns can stem some of the bleeding and help reduce incentives,” said KBB analyst Akshay Anand. “Alfa Romeo and Fiat continue to be drags on FCA, with Alfa’s volume still next to nothing and Fiat continuing to decline in sales. The Pacifica was a great story for Chrysler, but the brand still needs more models in order to become a player.”

Essentially matching Fiat Chrysler’s growth rate, Ford Motor Co. realized a 3% rise in its average transaction price for December. The main drivers were the automaker’s Explorer, Escape and Fusion, which saw their transaction prices climb by 11%, 3%, and 4%, respectively. The Lincoln brand’s average transaction price rose 3% increase due to the Continental $57,156 average transaction price.

Nissan North America realized the biggest year-over-year increase among all the OEMs, with its average transaction price rising 5.9% over the same time last year, according to KBB. Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for AutoTrader, noted that the brand’s growth was driven in large part by the success of its Nissan Rogue sport utility, which benefited from the advertising tie-in with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

“Appealing products, incentives, and financing likely drove the industry to another record year in 2016. A three-peat is possible (if not probable) if Wall Street, consumer confidence, and the economy continue to respond favorably to the incoming administration. There are a lot of old cars on the road still and a lot of new technology awaiting shoppers in today’s showrooms,” said Rebecca Lindland, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

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Drivers Still Multitasking Behind the Wheel, Survey Shows


IRVINE, Calif. —While nearly every state in the United States, as well as Washington D.C., has laws prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving, a new survey by Kelley Blue Book reveals that 61% of drivers continue to multi-task from behind the wheel.

The 2016 Kelley Blue Book Distracted Driving Awareness survey, released today by KBB.com, also revealed that nearly half (47 percent) of respondents have used their phone while driving on roads or residential streets. Additionally, 40% of respondents said they have used their phones while cruising the highway, while 86% said they have used their phone while at a stop light or in heavy traffic.

Talking on the phone and using the navigation system were the highest rated activities reported at 78% and 71%, respectively. Texting came in third at 67%, followed by using music apps (47%) and using social media (31%).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25% of all crashes involve some form of driver distraction, and drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. In fact, nearly three quarters of survey respondents (71%) believe that cell phone usage is the biggest threat facing today’s teen drivers, with drinking and driving (18%) and reckless driving (10%) rating as a distant second and third, respectively.

According to Distraction.gov, the average time a driver takes their eyes off the road while texting is five seconds. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. Millennial drivers report the highest rates of texting (74%) and checking social media sites (36%) while driving. However, young people are not the only drivers reaching for their phones. The survey reveals that Baby Boomers lead the pack, reporting the highest rate overall of talking on the phone while driving (87%), followed by Gen X (83%) and Millenials (76%).

“We all know that texting while driving is a serious distraction, but it isn’t the only reason drivers are taking their eyes off the road,” said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “With the increase of in-car technology, there are more distractions vying for a driver’s attention. Whether it is in-dash navigation, music apps or voice command call or text, more and more drivers are multi-tasking behind the wheel as opposed to focusing on the road.”

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Average New-Vehicle Transaction Price Reaches $33,781, KBB Reports


IRVINE, Calif. — The estimated average transaction price for a new car reached $33,781 in February, a 2.2% increase from the prior year, according to Kelley Blue Book.

The vehicle information site attributed the rise to low gas prices pushing more consumers toward more expensive pickup trucks, and vehicle OEMs are responding by increasing incentives spending.

“Increased incentives are helping offset part of this growth, as incentive spend is nearing pre-recession levels in recent months,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Low gas prices are attracting consumers toward pickup trucks, with average transaction up a combined 6% for the segment. The same growth has not been seen in traditional car segments like compact and mid-size cars, which are both up 0.5 %, or around $100.”

Utility and truck models helped propel Toyota Motor Co., Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to some of the highest transaction prices during the month. The release of the all-new Honda Civic and a well-performing Honda Pilot helped increase the average vehicle transaction price for American Honda by 0.5% year-over-year.

Hyundai-Kia was the only brand to see a year-over-year decline in average transaction price. The brand’s $24,577 average transaction price was down 1.6% from the year-ago period. Although the Tucson had its best month for the brand, dealers sold down the outgoing Elantra model during the month.

The month’s highest average vehicle transaction price was recorded by General Motors at $37,765.

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KBB, Autotrader Report Strong November Unit Sales


IRVINE, Calif., and ATLANTA — Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book reported stronger-than-expected auto sales during the month of November. The overall industry health is looking strong; however, there are a few risk factors that are worth paying attention to heading into 2016, analysts said.

The stronger-than-expected unit sales during November were driven by higher employment rates, a recovering economy, cheap gas prices, cheap credit, and successful year-end promotions, analysts noted.

“I think the holiday and Black Friday promotions generally resonated with consumers and we’ll see that trend continue through December,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader. “A notable exception that didn’t’ really resonate with consumers so much was the Ford Friends and Neighbors campaign.”

Ford has since canceled the campaign and plans to replace it with a more conventional year-end incentive. Krebs explained that while the campaign increased showroom traffic, not enough of that traffic translated into sales. Dealers told Autotrader that many customers who were aware of Ford’s Friends and Neighbors campaign thought they could do better looking elsewhere.

Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book’s original forecast predicted a SAAR of 17.8 million units after November. Most major manufacturers that have reported November sales put the SAAR at 18 million units, with the possibility of the SAAR reaching 18.2 million. That depends on the performance of manufacturers that had yet to report November sales, they told the two firms.

“Usual suspects continue to do very well,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “As far as the industry is concerned, month over month, very similar trends in terms of what segments are doing well: trucks and SUVs.”

Nissan was up 4% from last year, while GM and Ford came in under their forecasts. The two domestics did report solid truck and SUV sales, however. An increase in incentives was responsible for the 20% sales increase realized by the Jeep brand, according to analysts.

While great for moving vehicles, the trend of rising incentives outpacing rising transaction prices was one of the risk factors identified by KBB’s Guiterrez. “In fact, while we did see a year-over-year increase in terms of what consumers are paying for new cars at the dealership, we have seen that growth start to slow,” Gutierrez noted. “Typically, we see 2-3% growth in transaction prices, but in November, that growth was coming in at less than 1%, so some stabilization happening there.”

While transaction price growth seems to be halting, incentives seem to be increasing. For the past four months, industry-wide incentives have averaged around $3,100, Krebs said.

“That’s the highest we’ve seen since prerecession,” said Krebs. “More importantly, the incentives are taking a bigger share of the average transaction price … the average transaction prices are increasing, but not at the torrid pace they were.”

Krebs also pointed to rising interest rates as another risk factor, saying the firm expects the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates later this week. While the increase will likely add only a couple of extra dollars to the typical car loan, it could have a major impact on other household loans. And that could push potential car buyers out of the market, she said.

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