IRVINE, Calif. – With sales skewed toward utility vehicles, the average transaction price for light vehicles rose by $757, or 2.3%, from a year ago to $34,352 in February, according to Kelley Blue estimates. Compared to the month prior, however, the average was down $328, or 0.9%, from January.
“New-car transaction prices continued to rise in February, climbing more than 2% year over year,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Once again, prices are up due to the mix of sales skewing more toward SUVs and away from cars, as keeping the sales mix of SUVs-to-cars steady from last February would have resulted in flat transaction prices. Even though sales now appear to be slowing down in the industry, the boom in utility vehicles is managing to boost profits for many automakers.”
Registering the greatest year-over-year gains was Ford Motor Co., with the automaker’s average transaction price up nearly 6% on strong F-Series sales. The refreshed Fusion had the best month for Ford, up 6% year over year. The Lincoln brand was up 1%, once again benefitting from the new Continental sedan, which is transacting at around $55,000.
Hyundai-Kia transaction prices were flat for February 2017, as the Hyundai brand fell 6%, offset by the Kia brand rising 2%. The drop at Hyundai comes from the spinoff of the Genesis brand, in addition to the Sonata falling 3%. The gains at Kia are the result of the redesigned Sportage, which was up 11% year over year.