SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Rising prices and tightened credit conditions continued to place pressure on the new-vehicle market in April, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. The average price of a new car is expected to climb to $36,718 in April, the highest level seen so far in 2019.
April also marked the fourth straight month of the year that interest rates hovered above 6%. According to Edmunds data, the annual percentage rate on financed new vehicles is expected to average 6.28% in April compared with 5.58% last year and 4.40% five years ago.
“April sales were a bit dampened by the harsh financing conditions we’ve been seeing in the new car market,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of industry analysis. “Shoppers are really starting to feel the pinch as prices continue to creep up and interest rates loom at post-Recession highs.”
According to Edmunds data, zero percent finance offers continued to be tough to come by in April, constituting only 3.20% of financed transactions in 2019, compared to 7.64% in 2018 and 7.38% five years ago. But Edmunds experts note that this might change heading into the summer holiday selldown season.
“Slower April sales didn’t do much to eat into the industry’s mounting inventory levels, so we might start to see manufacturers and dealers begin to loosen the reins on incentives closer to Memorial Day weekend in an attempt to rekindle demand,” said Caldwell.