June 2011

New-car prices are at their highest levels ever recorded, according to Truecar.com, a research and forecasting firm.

In May, the average transaction price for a new car stood at $29,817, which is a $608 increase from a year ago and $215 more than April prices.

Some automakers have seen bigger price increases than others. The average transaction price for a new Ford is $32,885; that’s a 5.2% increase from the same month last year.

The higher prices reflect a tightening supply for new cars, which explains May’s slight sales drop month-over-month. Automakers are offering fewer discounts since there are fewer cars to sell mainly as a result of the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The average incentive has decreased by $822 from a year ago and is now averaging $2,017, according to Truecar.com.

Hyundai and Kia continue to have the lowest transaction prices out of the top seven automakers with a current going rate of $19,217.