New Vehicle Prices Hit Record High of Nearly $49,000 — Where Can You Find the Best Deals Right Now?

Happy woman buying a car and closing the deal with a handshake with the saleswoman at the dealership.
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Despite signs of easing inflation, Americans in the market for a new car are still paying more than they’ve ever paid before. The average transaction price, or ATP, for a new vehicle in the United States hit a record high of $48,681 in November 2022, according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book.

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In a Monday press release, KBB said November prices rose 0.9% ($422) from October 2022 and were up 4.4% ($2,250) from the previous year. New-vehicle ATPs have now been higher than the average manufacturer’s suggested retail price since July 2021. One driver of higher prices is strong sales of luxury vehicles, which increased to 18.2% of total sales in November from 17.8% in October.

Overall November sales volumes climbed more than 11% year-over-year, though they were down slightly from the month before. The combination of high prices and rising loan rates is likely putting downward pressure on sales.

“The transaction data from November clearly indicates that prices are showing no signs of coming down as we head into the holiday season,” Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for KBB parent Cox Automotive, said in a statement. “The mix of available vehicles still favors more expensive models and higher trim levels. In fact, average MSRP has increased more than average ATP year-over-year, indicating automakers are still building a richer mix of expensive models and fewer value vehicles.”

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The average luxury buyer paid $67,050 for a new vehicle in November — another all-time high and up $405 from October. But expensive cars weren’t the only ones to see an uptick. Sticker prices for new non-luxury vehicles averaged $44,584 in November — also a record and up by $330 month over month. On average, car shoppers in the non-luxury segment paid $410 above sticker price, a slight increase from October.

Despite the high prices, there are still good deals to be had on new cars. KBB recently analyzed sticker prices and other data to arrive at the 10 best car deals for December 2022. Here’s the list, with MSRPs:

  1. 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe: $27,700
  2. 2023 Nissan Altima: $26,090
  3. 2022 Honda Pilot: $40,310
  4. 2022 Ford Explorer: $35,510
  5. 2023 Kia Forte: $19,990
  6. 2022 Mazda CX-30: $22,500
  7. 2023 Subaru Impreza: $19,795
  8. 2023 Kia Seltos: $22,840
  9. 2023 Toyota Corolla: $21,550
  10. 2023 Honda HR-V: $25,900

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Deals on specific cars will vary by region, so take a look at the manufacturer’s website for availability and details before visiting your local dealership. Also, keep in mind that tax, title and license fees are extra.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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