When It Comes to SUVs, Consumers Okay With Bigger Price Tags, Longer Terms

With average new-vehicle costs at record high, Edmunds advises consumers to take a look at outgoing 2017 model-year vehicles. 

JANUARY 5, 2009; ORLANDO, FL -- Toyota Tundra full size trucks sit on the lot at the Toyota of Orlando car dealership in Orlando, Florida, January 5, 2009. (photo by Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg News)
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Consumers looking for a new car and a bargain should take a look at outgoing 2017 model-year vehicles.

Early estimates found incentives dropping in November for the first time in two months, but they're still at historical highs, with incentives expected to average $3,371 in November, compared to the record $3,557 in October, according to a release by Edmunds Friday.

"While incentives are starting to level off, automakers are still finding themselves with significant inventory to clear out before the end of the year," said Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis at Edmunds. "In a declining market, every sale counts and dealers are going to be very motivated to meet their year-end goals."

Pegging the average retail price of a new vehicle at a record high of $35,852 in November, Edmunds estimates prices to be up 2.3 percent from the year-ago month and up 12.1 percent compared to November 2012.

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Also Friday, Kelley Blue Book estimated the average sticker price for light vehicles in the U.S. at $35,870 in November, a negligible, or $18 difference, from Edmunds.

The car-information provider reports the average down payment on a new car to be $3,906 in November, up $290 compared to November of 2016 and $284 from five years ago.

"2017 has been the year of the SUV," said Acevedo. "Consumers have proven time and time again this year that they're not afraid of the bigger price tags, higher APRs and longer loan terms."

In November, 57 percent of new vehicles sold were 2017 model year, while last November, 49 percent of new vehicles sold were 2016 model year, according to Edmunds. Five years ago, only 41 percent of the new vehicles sold in November were from the 2012 model year.