Everybody knows that the price in the commercial or on the MSRP sticker isn’t often the price you’ll actually pay for a car. After all the hemming, hawing, and haggling, you’ll likely pay a bit less than the official price, especially if the manufacturer has incentives involved, like $1000 cash back.
Happily, the people at TrueCar track these things for us. They look at the average transaction prices of new vehicles — the final price that people are actually paying — and look at how it compares to previous years and months. The good news right now is that passenger vehicles industry wide are half a percent between November 2012 and November 2013. According to TrueCar’s research, consumers paid $30,832 on average for a new car in November 2012 and $30,634 in November 2013. It’s only a couple hundred bucks, but for me, that’s three trips including tip to Maggie, who makes my hair pretty.
Manufacturers are also offering buyers more money as incentives — but only 0.7% more over last year. November 2012 saw an average of $2,490 being handed out for new-car incentives, while in November 2013 $2,507. That not-quite-twenty bucks isn’t going to make a huge difference in my life if I’m buying a $30,000 car. But that’s an industry average; the car you’re interested in might come in on the high end of the incentive scale. Ford and GM, as of last month, were averaging more than $3,000 in incentives, for example.