These are not the best times to buy a new car. Dealer inventories remain razor thin due to production constraints stemming from supply chain shortages, while automakers are having to build models without some key features for which components were unavailable just to keep assembly lines running.
For example, we recently tested a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 that had a $25 credit on the price sticker for not having a heated steering wheel (promising a later upgrade). A $112,000 Cadillac Escalade that we drove showed a $50 credit for not being equipped with an electronic steering wheel lock. Other items most commonly left over from delivered models for ease of production are infotainment touchscreens, wireless charging pads, heated seats and some audio systems.
And that’s if you can find the vehicle of your choice in stock at all. Ordering from the factory is an option, but hardly a practical solution for someone who needs a car sooner than several months later, especially if their current car is about to go off-lease or face major repairs.
The unbalanced supply and demand problems have, as any economics student 101 could attest, pushed up prices significantly. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average mainstream brand vehicle sold for $43,942 last month, the highest transaction price on record. Luxury models average $66,476, which is around $1,100 above their MSRP. Rising gasoline prices are fueling (no pun intended) demand for electric and hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicle transaction prices are now almost 14 percent higher than a year ago, while hybrids cost a whopping $8,453 more than they were in mid-2021.
Of course, not all brand new cars, trucks, and SUVs are scarce and able to fetch such high markups. Some brands are hotter than others, again due to ongoing supply and demand issues. KBB says while new vehicles from Honda, Kia and Mercedes-Benz sold an average of 6.5 to 8.7 percent above their sticker prices in June, those from Buick, Lincoln and Ram sold around 1 percent below their MSRP.
It’s clear that the models that are in the shortest supply due to a lack of inventory and/or overwhelming demand from retailers are not only the hardest to find, but also the hardest to discount. Buyers are finding the biggest premiums on red-hot models like the Ford Bronco SUV, which has been in such high demand that dealerships are no longer taking orders for the 2022 model year. To determine which new vehicles are currently in high demand and have the shortest availability, automotive website iSeeCars.com examined over 224,000 transactions in June to determine how many days a given model sits in a dealer’s inventory before it’s sold.
The top vehicle in this regard, the subcompact Subaru Crosstrek SUV sits in storage for just 12.9 days before being pulled from the lot. The industry average is currently 37.2 days, while 50 days was considered typical in the pre-pandemic era. We feature the 20 fastest sellers below.
It’s more or less the same story on the used car side, where EVs, hybrids and small cars are stocking up in no time. According to iSeeCars.com, the Tesla Model Y crossover tops this list, spending an average of 24.9 days before being sold. Other scarce used models include Tesla’s Model 3 and Model X, the Toyota Prius and Prius Prime, and the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. As a testament to current demand, we’ve seen 2021 Mach-Es being listed on used car sites for a staggering amount $17,000 more than their original sticker prices.
In the meantime, car buyers are advised to remain opportunistic and remain both open-minded and financially open to finding anything close to their chosen vehicles as they desire. “New car inventories are expected to remain tight into 2022 as microchip shortages persist and automakers struggle to meet pent-up demand,” says iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Buyers should act quickly when they see their desired vehicle for sale, and buyers will likely need to be flexible with color and trim options for in-demand models.”
In the meantime, based on data from iSeeCars.com, here are the fastest selling new cars on the market right now that buyers should expect to see low inventories and high prices, giving their average sale times and transaction prices:
- Subaru Cross Trek: 12.9 days; $30,299
- Honda Civic: 14.1 days; $26,480
- Subaru Forester: 14.7 days; $34,319
- Honda CR-V: 17.7 days; $34,698
- Subaru Impreza: 18.5 days; $24,881
- Kia Telluride: 18.6 days; $46,447
- Kia Forte: 18.6 days; $23,084
- BMW X3: 19.4 days; $52,079
- Ford Bronco: 21.5 days; $57,579
- Hyundai Tucson hybrid: 22.3 days; $36,371
- Subaru Outback: 22.9 days; $37,942
- Kia Sportage: 22.9 days; $33,967
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: 23.7 days; $36,767
- Nissan kicks: 23.7 days; $24,277
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: 24.1 days; $55,043
- Chevrolet pioneer: 24.1 days; $27,523
- Mercedes-Benz GLE: 24.7 days; $75,240
- Toyota Camry: 25.9 days; $30,998
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (Hybrid): 25.9 days; $62,731
- Toyota Highlander: 26.4 days; $46,332
You can read the full study here.