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You’re not imagining it—new cars really have gotten much more expensive

Enlarge / Buying a new car in 2022 was a financially painful experience. (credit: Getty Images)

The average transaction price of a new vehicle rose by 4.9 percent in 2022, according to Kelly Blue Book. As a result, the average sales price of a new vehicle in December was $49,075, a $2,297 increase over 12 months earlier. (Average sales prices were higher than MSRP thanks to factors like dealer markups.) Some of the rise is a consequence of a lack of inventory, which was at its lowest level ever early in 2022 due to factors like supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But prices have continued to rise even as more new cars have made their way to dealer lots.

“The transaction data from December clearly indicates overall prices showed no signs of coming down as we headed into year-end,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive. “Luxury prices fell slightly in December, but non-luxury transaction prices were up. Truck sales were particularly strong last month, and with many trucks selling for more than $60,000, a new record was all but inevitable.”

The average selling price for a new non-luxury car in December was a record $45,578, up almost $1,000 over November. The average selling price of a new pickup was even greater, at over $59,000, and was even higher if we look at Ford’s best-selling F-series. In December, Ford sold more than 75,000 F-series trucks at an average sales price of $66,451, KBB reports.

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