The valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the United States was $36,733 in March 2019. New-vehicle prices increased $824 (up 2.3%) from March 2018, while decreasing $174 (down 0.5%) from last month.
"Prices climbed more than 2% year-over-year in March, led by full-size trucks, where half of the models are new," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "While a 2% increase doesn't sound like much, factoring in higher interest rates this year and tighter incentives means average monthly payments are up about $30 from a year ago – an increase closer to 6%. This sharp increase is likely contributing to the slower sales pace in the first quarter. We will have to see if automakers respond with greater incentives later in the year, if sluggish sales continue."
Fiat Chrysler had a great month of transaction price growth, posting a 5% increase primarily due to Ram. Ram prices were up nearly 7%, thanks to its new 1/2-ton pickup truck, which also posted impressive sales gains recently, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Average Transaction Prices
|Segment||March 2019 Transaction Price Avg.||Feb. 2019 Transaction Price Avg.||March 2018 Transaction Price Avg.||Percent Change Feb 2019 to March 2019||Percent Change March 2018 to March 2019|
|Full-size Pickup Truck||$50,003||$50,192||$47,515||-0.40%||5.20%|
|Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover||$45,155||$45,212||$44,550||-0.10%||1.40%|
|Luxury Full-size SUV/Crossover||$88,625||$87,785||$89,478||1.00%||-1.00%|
|Luxury Mid-size SUV/Crossover||$57,953||$58,180||$57,091||-0.40%||1.50%|
|Mid-size Pickup Truck||$33,679||$33,705||$33,056||-0.10%||1.90%|
Source: Kelley Blue Book
According to insight from Black Book, volume-weighted the overall truck segment (including pickups, SUVs, and vans) values decreased by just 0.07% last week. In comparison, the market values decreased by 0.36% on average during the prior four-week period.
"As more over-the-road trucks dropped in wholesale value, a few others held their own while a few models actually went up,” said Charles Cathey, senior analyst for Black Book.
In truck segments, Black Book showed minivans experiencng the most lift in values while luxury SUVs showed the most declines. "We are beginning to see a trend of trucks staying in service longer than we have seen in the past," noted Black Book. As more and more veteran units come into the market with higher miles and more wear-and-tear than the supply of past years, average depreciation is increasing. With the average supply of units reaching rougher conditions, the market is starting to look more volatile.
Black Book noted that for the specialty segments, the 2016-2017 model-year heavy-duty construction/vocational segment decreased an average of $727 (0.8%) in March, compared to the average drop of $264 (0.3%) in February. But, the 2008-2015 model-year heavy-duty construction/vocational segment dropped an average of $276 (0.6%) in March, compared to the $158 (0.3%) average depreciation in February. Medium-duty vehicles are experiencing a downward trend for auction prices as demand slows and the new and used inventory is increasing.