Americans are paying record-high prices for new vehicles

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A sign advertises to purchase cars at a used car dealership in Arlington, Virginia, February 15, 2022.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

DETROIT – If investors are looking for signs of a recession or weakening consumer spending, they can skip over new vehicle prices, which hit a new record in June.

Fueled by pent-up consumer demand, low vehicle inventories and rising sales of luxury vehicles, Cox Automotive reported this week the average transaction price of a new vehicle last month was $48,083 – a 1.9% increase from May and higher than the previous record of $47,202 set in December.

The average sale price was part of a broader increase in consumer spending in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The consumer price index, a measure of everyday goods and services, soared 9.1% from a year ago, above the 8.8% Dow Jones estimate.

Much of the inflation rise came from gasoline prices, which increased 11.2% on the month and just shy of 60% for the 12-month period. New and used vehicle prices posted respective monthly gains of 0.7% and 1.6%, according to the BLS.

Cox said June continued this year’s streak of consumers paying more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or “sticker price,” for a new vehicle, according to Cox. The automotive research firm reported new vehicles from Honda Motor, Kia and Mercedes-Benz transacted on average between 6.5% and 8.7% over MSRP.

–Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

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