Something to Think About Regarding Vehicle Prices

By Gary S. Vasilash

Here are some interesting observations from Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist and senior director of Industry Insights at Cox Automotive.

Chesbrough, during a presentation at the Federal Reserve of Chicago’s 28th Annual Automotive Insights Symposium, pointed out that new vehicle inventory at the end of 2021 was 63% below what it was in 2020.

Not a whole lot of inventory on those dealers’ lots.

He said the day supply of vehicles is about 35 days, and that when vehicles show up on dealer lots they get bought up just as quickly as they are dropped off.

What’s more, the average price of a vehicle is MSRP plus something.

In other words, that sticker is a suggestion. The price goes up from there.

What’s more, people are paying more than ever—average transactions at $47,077, according to Kelley Blue Book—and dealers and OEMs are racking up the rewards.

“This is a tight supply situation and I don’t know that the industry is in much of a hurry to change it.”

Why would they?

The Big Spend

Seems like vehicle buyers are buying—costs be damned

By Gary S. Vasilash

“Importantly, consumer spending will still advance despite higher prices due to pent-up demand and record savings balances.” That’s Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Surveys of Consumers, University of Michigan.

In the survey for May it was discovered that consumer confidence fell compared to the data for April. A concern is with inflation.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Consumer Price Index was up by 4.2% for the 12-month period ending in the cruelest month. That was the highest rise since September 2008, when it hit 4.9%.

What was a big contributing factor to both the fall in consumer confidence and the increase in consumer prices? Vehicle prices.

In the case of used cars and trucks, the BLS measured a 10% increase in prices—the largest one-month increase since they started measuring back in 1953.

But it seems that shoppers aren’t all that concerned.

According to Cox Automotive:

“Four out of ten consumers are willing to pay above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and those willing to pay over MSRP are willing to accept a 12% premium.”

Cox calculates that based on the average MSRP for new vehicles in April being $41,950, according to Kelley Blue Book, “many consumers are willing to pay $5,000 over sticker price.”

Somehow politicians are blamed for inflation.

Seems like consumers might have more than a cameo role in this scenario.