Transaction prices offer a telling perspective on sales volume: it's what people are actually paying for new vehicles. Higher transaction prices mean greater demand, as automakers are having to put less cash on the hood to move vehicles off the lot. Higher transaction prices don't track sales numbers, since structural supply issues can put a bottleneck on availability, driving up demand.
According to research and online consumer auto marketing firm TrueCar.com, Toyota, which spent last year getting its pace back after big force majeur issues and a PR headwind or
two, saw transaction prices increase almost 6% versus Feb. 2012.
Honda got a 3.3% improvement in transaction pricing, and the Hyundai/Kia pair getting nearly 5%. Volkswagen was up by 2% and Ford, the only domestic to see a positive transaction delta, saw a 3.6% increase. GM and Chrysler saw transaction prices drop 0.3% and 2.9% respectively.
Jesse Toprak, senior analyst at TrueCar says some of the increases reflect structural changes making all boats -- or most boats -- rise. "The auto industry continues to rebound and there's still a strong pent-up demand from consumers and businesses that have been holding off on buying a new car for years," he said.