Both used and new vehicle prices have been on a steady rise for the past couple of years, much of it spurred on by the semiconductor chip shortage, labor issues, and a variety of supply chain constraints that have followed. However, U.S. consumers have favored well-optioned, pricier vehicles for some time now, which has also driven average transaction pricing to new record levels. Regardless, we’re starting to see the effects of rising prices and interest rates, as more Ford buyers are extending their terms longer than ever before, according to Ford Credit CEO Marion Harris.
“We’re seeing some customers extending terms for vehicle affordability trying to stay at the same payment level, but with higher transaction prices and higher interest rates, customers are going longer term,” Harris said while speaking on the automaker’s Q3 earnings call. “And we’ve seen vehicle payment, even with that, move out quite a bit this year. And that’s starting to have a bit of an effect. And it’s in pockets around the country as well. So, many areas are still very, very strong. In other areas, you hear about deals not going through because of changes in payment quality.”
There are signs that aside from extending terms to lower monthly payments, customers are also seeking out less expensive models as a result of skyrocketing prices and soaring interest rates. As Ford Authority reported yesterday, Ford F-150 buyers are beginning to move downstream from the more luxurious Lariat trim level to the XLT, even though that shift is subtle at the moment.
Additionally, average transaction pricing is beginning to wane a little, as Ford’s ATP dropped two percent in September, although Lincoln ATP rose by two percent. However, overall Ford Motor Company average transaction pricing declined by 1.7 percent, which outpaced the overall new vehicle market at 0.3 percent.