The average used car price is now $33,000

  • Average used car prices have risen sharply, with the average margin exceeding $10,000, and growing.
  • Age and body style are the most significant factors in the markets, with late model units and luxury coupes selling despite price increases of 45-57%.
  • Selling prices for electric vehicles and hybrids are rising rapidly in response to high fuel costs, bringing the average transaction cost of a used electric vehicle to around $67,000.

    Trying to buy a car right now is terrifying, to say the least. Dealer profits on otherwise affordable new vehicles and computer chip shortages delaying production have pushed many buyers to consider used cars. Unfortunately, the used market is experiencing its own brands. With fewer cars available and mechanics full of work, dealers and private sellers have jacked up the prices of even the most undesirable used cars, and people are still buying them.

    Thanks to data collected by CoPilot, we can see how much consumers paid for used cars last month. Tracking virtually all US dealerships, the data shows the average used car transaction price rose to $33,341, down $172 from the used market’s high of $33,513 in March. Looking back to pre-pandemic data and early 2020, that’s $10,046 above normal expected used car prices.

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    A few key factors influence which cars sell at inflated prices: age, body type, fuel type and make. While vehicles four or more years old fall within the current premium metric, vehicles that are between one and three years old actually have a $13,145 higher profit margin above selling prices usual The average selling price of these relatively new used vehicles is $42,314. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that cars made 13 years ago still average sales of $18,038.

    Some body styles are more popular than others, and SUVs continue to occupy the top spots in the United States. As a result, SUVs fell victim to the lowest profit percentage at 29% above regular prices. Interestingly, the data separates SUVs and crossovers, with crossover sales priced 39% above normal. Pickup trucks followed a similar trajectory to SUVs, with sales prices increasing slightly to 32% above normal. Coupes and convertibles are subject to the highest levels of price increases with profits of 57% and 55% respectively, although these cars were often priced high even in normal times.

    Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular and are now suffering on the price front. The average used EV sold for $66,742, up 26% since the start of March, potentially the result of high gas prices. Hybrid vehicles saw a 14% increase above normal since the beginning of March, setting the average selling price at $49,213. Diesels were generally more expensive than hybrids, but traditional gas cars sold at a rate of about $8,000 less than hybrids and $25,000 less than EVs.

    jeeps lined up in edmonton

    NurPhotoGetty Images

    Foreign vehicles are sold at significantly lower premiums than domestically manufactured cars. The average premium for a foreign vehicle was $8088 and was largely set so high by Volkswagen models that commanded an average premium of $10,034 per sale. Still, the domestic brands’ price premium averaged $9,752, with the Ram taking the top slot at $11,390. The average premium for domestic manufacturers is 42% above normal prices, while the lowest overall average for foreign-produced cars is 45% above normal.

    Naturally, luxury brands take home the largest sum of profits from this market. While luxury sales have fallen recently, listed premiums aren’t necessarily deterrents for dedicated buyers of the brand. For example, Porsches sold for an average of $24,168 above list prices.

    It’s not a buyer’s market and many owners have opted for expensive maintenance rather than trading. For those in need of a car, the bleak market and shopping experience can improve with the help of some online tools. The newly launched site Markups.org collates dealer markups daily and can help buyers decide which dealer is right. In addition, CoPilot’s PricePulse program will alert potential buyers when model prices drop.

    Sad to say, gone are the days of $2,000 cars that get you to work and back.

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