The new and used car markets in the United States are still going crazy with many second-hand vehicles still selling for more than their brand-new equivalents. However, there are very early signs that things could return to a more normal state in the near future. Don’t be too optimistic just yet, but the average transaction price of a new vehicle in the country fell below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the first time in 20 months. And that’s a positive signal.

Data released earlier this week by Kelley Blue Book shows that the average price of new cars in the United States in March this year fell to $48,008, which represents a decrease of 1.1 percent from February 2023. Compared to March last year, this figure is 3.8 percent higher but nevertheless, this is the first time in nearly two years a new vehicle cost below MSRP on average – more precisely, $117 below the average sticker price, according to the agency.

"The latest transaction data from March reveals new-vehicle prices continued a downward trend through the first quarter of 2023," Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive, comments. "Both luxury and non-luxury prices were down month over month. We've been anticipating transaction price declines, as inventory has been steadily improving and choice has expanded.”

What most customers are probably interested in is the mainstream, non-luxury segment. In March, the average price paid for such a vehicle was $44,182, or $505 below February’s average price. Brands like Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet, and others all saw declines between 0.2 percent and 3.8 percent month over month. 

In the luxury segment, buyers continued to pay above MSRP for a new premium ride with an average price in March of $65,202, which was down just $9 from February this year. Interestingly, the average transaction prices for Land Rover and Porsche were over $100,000. It’s important to note that the data doesn’t include brands such as Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, and other exotic automakers.

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