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Transaction Prices Rise as Incentives Continue to Fall

TrueCar: September Transaction Prices Rise as Incentives Continue to Fall

Consumers are apparently willing to spend more on the lots, and it isn't because of impressive dealer and incentives, which are declining as fall gets underway, according to TrueCar.com.

The site estimated today that the average transaction price for light vehicles in the U.S. was $30,282 in last month, up $264 (0.9 percent) from September 2011 and up $8 (0.0 percent) from August.

"Transaction prices in September are as stable as the sales rate, while still being the highest in years," said Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence at TrueCar.com.

"This stability is another indication of consumer demand; the data this month indicates that the automotive marketplace has found a new equilibrium that is sustainable and growing at a healthy pace," he continued.

On the other hand, the site estimated that the average incentive for light-vehicles was $2,468 in September, down $176 (6.7 percent) from the same period last year and down $31 (1.2 percent) from August 2012.

"Market conditions continue to be ideal for automakers with lower incentive spending, high average transaction rates and double digit sales growth," Toprak noted.

TrueCar.com also estimated that the ratio of incentives to average transaction price for light-vehicles was 7.5 percent in September 2012, down from 8.2 percent in September 2011 and up from 6.9 percent in August .

As for who is making the most as units fly of their lots, dealers selling new Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors vehicles may be bringing in the bucks.

For VW, the OEM's average transaction price sat well above the average at $33,024 this past month, compared to $32,812 during the same period last year.

GM boasted an average transaction price of $32,274, according to the site, which was down 0.7 percent year-over-year and 0.4 percent from August.

Following closely behind, the Blue Oval's average transaction price for this past month was $32,048, according to TrueCar; a number which marks a .8 percent raise from the same period last year and a .5 percent decrease from August of this year.

As for incentives, Chrysler topped the list with an average incentive rate of $3,256, according to TrueCar officials, down 3.9 percent from last September and up .9 percent from August.

GM followed with an average incentive rate of $3,008 last month.

TrueCar provided the following charts to illustrate its results: