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Prices of new and used cars in the United States and basically the entire world kept getting higher in 2021. There are several different explanations for this, including the chip shortage and supply chain disruptions, and as a result, we are witnessing another year of record average monthly new car payments. There are other factors contributing, too, but first, let’s see the numbers.

Data collected by Edmunds shows the average monthly new car payment in the US during the final quarter of last year was $636 versus $614 during Q3. The former is the highest average monthly payment that Edmunds has ever recorded, and beats the previous record from the third quarter of the year. The average financing term remained stable at about 70 months.

But why is that happening? Obviously, new car prices are going up but Edmunds says there’s a different reason. According to the publication, more and more luxury car customers are opting to finance their new vehicles rather than lease them. This comes as a result of the reduced lease incentives and relatively low interest rates. Buyers are also spending more up front than before.

To put these numbers into perspective, Edmunds says the average monthly new car payment in the United States in Q4 of 2020 was $581, which was roughly on par with the number for Q4 of 2019, the final pre-coronavirus year in the automotive industry. Meanwhile, down payments rose from $5,394 in Q3 of 2021 to $5,780 in Q4. 

Gallery: 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class Edition 100

Despite the fact that luxury car buyers are driving an increase in monthly car payments, there doesn’t seem to be major shifts in the best-performing models on the market in 2021. The highest-ranked premium model in the US last year was the Lexus RX with 101,059 deliveries, more than seven times fewer than the Ford F-Series which was crowned for yet another year as America’s best-selling nameplate. The situation was nearly identical on the second-hand market.

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