Automakers saw strong sales in March and cars were just a little more expensive than the year before. According to TrueCar, the estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in March was $31,087, up 1.1 percent on a year-over-year comparison and up 0.4 percent on a month-over-month comparison.
"Manufacturers continue to benefit from consumers' insatiable appetite for highly contented new vehicles, as shown by average transaction prices exceeding $31,000 in March," said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for TrueCar. "Coupled with flat incentives spending and higher volume, near-record transaction prices herald positive earnings news for the industry."
As pent-up demand continues to drive auto sales, automakers are not forced to offer as many incentives, as consumers are expected to show up at dealers either way. TrueCar reported that the average incentive for light vehicles was $2,523 in March, down 1.7 percent on a year-over-year comparison and unchanged on a month-over-month comparison. In addition, the ratio of incentives to average transaction price for light vehicles was 8.1 percent in March, down 8.3 percent on a year-over-year comparison and down 8.2 percent on a month-over-month comparison.
Hyundai announces best first quarter sales
Hyundai recently announced that it sold 68,306 units in March, up 30 percent on a month-over-month comparison, and just 2 percent shy of the best volume month in company history, which was recorded last year. Hyundai did add that the first quarter was the best in history.
"March felt just great," said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of national sales. "We definitely benefited from better inventories of Elantra thanks to the addition of the third shift at our Alabama plant, improved weather conditions in our important Northern markets and more robust retail activity reflecting a steady recovery in consumer confidence. Elantra led the pack with an all-time monthly sales record of 26,153 units, up 33 percent year-over-year."
Zuchowski added that the Sonata Hybrid also set a new all-time sales record with 2,006 sales, accounting for a 13 percent increase on a year-over-year comparison.
Hyundai was not the only automaker with strong March sales. Nissan announced sales of 137,726 units, accounting for a 1 percent increase on a year-over-year comparison and marking the best sales month in company history.
Sales were led by the Nissan Altima, which saw sales of 37,763 units in March, while the Vera saw sales of 15,917 units and the Pathfinder SUV saw sales of 9,071 units.