IRVINE, Calif. — The estimated average transaction price for a new car reached $33,781 in February, a 2.2% increase from the prior year, according to Kelley Blue Book.

The vehicle information site attributed the rise to low gas prices pushing more consumers toward more expensive pickup trucks, and vehicle OEMs are responding by increasing incentives spending.

“Increased incentives are helping offset part of this growth, as incentive spend is nearing pre-recession levels in recent months,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Low gas prices are attracting consumers toward pickup trucks, with average transaction up a combined 6% for the segment. The same growth has not been seen in traditional car segments like compact and mid-size cars, which are both up 0.5 %, or around $100.”

Utility and truck models helped propel Toyota Motor Co., Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to some of the highest transaction prices during the month. The release of the all-new Honda Civic and a well-performing Honda Pilot helped increase the average vehicle transaction price for American Honda by 0.5% year-over-year.

Hyundai-Kia was the only brand to see a year-over-year decline in average transaction price. The brand’s $24,577 average transaction price was down 1.6% from the year-ago period. Although the Tucson had its best month for the brand, dealers sold down the outgoing Elantra model during the month.

The month’s highest average vehicle transaction price was recorded by General Motors at $37,765.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom