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Average Auto Prices Increase 4 Percent

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Feb. 5, 2018—Auto sales were relatively strong in January in the U.S., with average prices up 4 percent, which is an early sign of an inflationary economy, as noted in a Los Angeles Times report.

The average price paid for a passenger vehicle in the U.S. hit a record $36,270 in January, according to Cox Automotive. The economy is expanding and employment is up, which are typically early signs of inflation.

Although car sales are down a bit from the record high of 2016 (17.5 million vehicles), demand remains rather strong. Last year, Americans bought 17.2 million vehicles, and this January came in at an annual rate of approximately 17 million.

Consumer demand for trucks and SUVs is ever-rising, and prices have increased in kind. Pickup prices, of course, can easily top $50,000 these days.

"Trucks are almost like the luxury market now," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with Autotrade.

Auto sales figures released last Thursday show consistent trends, the L.A. Times noted: pickups are up, sport utility vehicles are up, General Motors is up, Toyota is up and … sedans continue to fall out of favor.

Krebs said the industry will be closely monitoring sales of the recently upgraded Toyota Camry and Honda Accord; those vehicles have received excellent reviews, she noted, so their sales will indicate whether the sedan market is merely diminished, of if it’s in serious trouble.

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