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Tesla Model S
Credit: Tesla, Inc.

January 7, 2019 - IRVINE, Calif., - PRNewswire/ -- The analysts at Kelley Blue Book today reported the estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States was $37,577 in December 2018. New-vehicle prices increased (up 1.3 percent) from December 2017, while decreasing $93 (down 0.2 percent) from last month.   

Kelley Blue Book Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Kelley Blue Book)

"December closed out a very strong year for new-car prices, as they rose to more than $36,000 on average in 2018, a 3 percent increase," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "Despite higher interest rates and incentives remaining flat year-over-year, this was the strongest growth in transaction prices since 2013. Average transaction prices were boosted in 2018 by tax reform and low unemployment, as well as the rapid ramp-up of Tesla and its Model 3."

Excluding Tesla from the average, the rest of the industry rose 2.5 percent, a result more in line with the past few years. The sales mix of cars dropping to 31 percent (from 36 percent in 2017) also played a role in rising prices, and as more automakers like Ford discontinue their car nameplates in favor of SUVs and trucks, the average new-vehicle price will continue to grow.

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Similar to last month, strength in SUVs and trucks continued to push Fiat Chrysler and Subaru up year-over-year. Also benefitting from models in these segments, Nissan North America jumped 2 percent overall with Infiniti leading the way at a 5 percent increase. The QX50 was Infiniti's top performer again, as average transaction prices were up 22 percent. Nissan prices also climbed (up 1 percent), led by the redesigned Altima (up 6 percent). However, the new Kicks subcompact SUV and its nearly $20,000 average transaction price brought down the Nissan brand average.

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About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week the company provides market-reflective values on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor tool, which provides a range for what consumers can reasonably expect to pay for a vehicle in their area. Car owners looking to sell immediately can also get a redeemable, transaction-ready offer with Kelley Blue BookSM Instant Cash Offer. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Kelley Blue Book is a Cox Automotive brand.

About Cox Automotive 
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning and using cars easier for everyone. The global company's 34,000-plus team members and family of brands, including Autotrader®, Clutch Technologies, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with revenues exceeding $20 billion. www.coxautoinc.com
Source: Kelley Blue Book