New car prices are near an all-time high right now. The average new car in May sold for $ 47,148 – the second-highest total on record. Almost every buyer paid more than sticker price, with non-luxury buyers paying $ 1,030 more than the asking price on average and luxury buyers paying $ 1,071 more.
That means automakers and their dealers see little need to discount cars this summer.
May was the 11thth consecutive month to see average new-vehicle prices above MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). We expect June to mark a 12th straight month, and none of that offers reason to believe there will be many great deals during the Fourth of July holiday.
Brian Moody, executive editor at Kelley Blue Book and our sister site Autotrader, offers these three suggestions.
- Be flexible. The best way to get a good deal is to buy a car from the dealership’s existing inventory. The cars on the actual lot are cars the dealership owns, and those are the cars you can get quickest and, maybe, at the best price. Also, be flexible on things like color and options.
- Look for less popular vehicle types. If you’re looking at a popular mid-size SUV, you won’t get a deal at all. Those types of vehicles are transacting well over retail price in almost every case. Consider a midsize sedan instead if you can make that work.
- Consider buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. These are often lightly used cars that come with an additional warranty versus a used car. While used-vehicle prices are also elevated by historical norms, a good CPO will likely cost less than a good new vehicle.
Shoppers might also consider looking outside the brands that usually win their attention. Fiat, Buick, Ram, and Lincoln were all selling most cars below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price in May, even while most brands sold over MSRP.