New Cars: Why Not Report Unit Sales AND Prices?

Mark Perry
updated | Author's Website
ManufacturerNov. 2011
Transaction Price
Nov. 2010
Transaction Price
Percent Change
Chrysler$29,128$28,4362.40%
Ford$32,174$30,0277.20%
GM$33,189$32,5512.00%
Honda$26,730$25,4215.20%
Hyundai/Kia$21,384$19,40810.20%
Nissan$27,613$26,7843.10%
Toyota$27,692$26,3115.20%
Industry Average$30,317$29,1544.00%

Last week Autodata reported 994,721 total light vehicle sales for November, which was a 13.9% annual increase from November last year (873,323 units).  Separately, TrueCar.com reported that the average sales price for a new car reached a record high in November of $30,317 (average transaction price), an increase of 4% compared to a year earlier ($29,154, see chart).  

In that case, the total sales volume for new vehicles increased year-over-year in November by 18.44%, from $25.46 billion last year to $30.15 billion this year, and the total sales volume increase was even more impressive than the 13.9% increase in unit sales.  Now only did American consumers buy 121,398 more cars last month compared to November 2010, but they were also willing to pay 4% more on average, or $1,163 more per vehicle.  That translated into an increase in sales volume of $5 billion.

When existing and new home sales are reported, both unit sales, and average and/or median sales prices are reported.  Maybe car sales should be reported the same way, to get a more complete picture of vehicle sales?  

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