New car prices have fallen from a year ago, primarily because the inventory shortage created by the Japanese earthquake has been entirely erased.
On average, consumers are paying $500 less for a new vehicle today compared with just one year ago, according to Kelley Blue Book, the auto price information company that operates KBB.com.
Kelley said the biggest year-over-year price declines are for vehicles offered by Japanese brands such as the Toyota Prius. Manufacturing of the Prius hybrid, which is built in Japan, was severely distrupted by the earthquake. Inventories in the U.S. fell to less than seven days' worth, and prices spiked. Now, however, the average transaction price for the Prius is about $2,500 less than a year ago.
“The average Honda model is selling for nearly $1,200 less than this time last year, and a Subaru, Mazda or Toyota is approximately $700 to $800 more affordable,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book. “Compare this to the average year-over-year declines of less than $500 for Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.”