Lexus ES 2023 interiorThe average price of a new car in America was 6.1% higher at the end of September than it was one year earlier, due in part to inflation. But another factor is driving prices to new heights: Americans are choosing more expensive cars.

Luxury cars accounted for nearly 18% of new car sales in September. That’s nearly 3% higher than it was two years ago and more than 5% about a decade ago. We only saw a higher percentage twice – in December 2021 and June 2022.

American auto shoppers’ tastes have changed, with SUVs accounting for a greater percentage of new car sales than ever before. Compact and mid-size SUVs, along with full-size pickups, make up nearly half of new car sales.

But our taste for luxury cars is also growing. According to Kelley Blue Book’s parent company Cox Automotive, average vehicle payments were $738 in September.

Date Percentage of new sales of luxury cars
September 2012 12.60%
September 2013 13.46%
September 2014 13.42%
September 2015 13.03%
September 2016 13.76%
September 2017 13.34%
September 2018 14.99%
September 2019 15.52%
September 2020 15.12%
September 2021 17.31%
September 2022 17.99%

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