These are not the best of times to shop for a new car. Dealers’ inventories remain wafer-thin from production restraints caused by supply chain shortages, while automakers are having to build models without some key features for which components have been unavailable, just to keep the assembly lines rolling.
For example, we recently test-drove a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for which the price sticker noted a $25 credit for not having a heated steering wheel (promising a later retrofit). A $112,000 Cadillac Escalade we drove showed a $50 credit for not being equipped with an electronic steering-wheel column lock. Other items most often left from delivered models to facilitate production include infotainment touch screens, 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 one from the factory is an option, but it’s hardly a practical solution for someone who needs a car sooner rather than several months later, especially if their current ride is about to come off of a lease or is facing major repairs.
The off-kilter supply and demand issues have, as any Economics 101 student could attest, been driving prices up considerably. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average mainstream-brand vehicle sold for $43,942 last month, which is the highest transaction price on record. Luxury models are going for an average $66,476, which is around $1,100 above their MSRPs. Spiking gas prices are (no pun intended) fueling demand for electric and hybrid-powered vehicles. Transaction prices for EVs are now nearly 14 percent higher than they were a year ago, while hybrids are going for a whopping $8,453 more than at mid-year 2021.
Of course not all factory-fresh cars, trucks, and SUVs are short on supply and able to command such lofty markups. Some brands are hotter than others, again due to lingering supply and demand issues. KBB says that while new vehicles from Honda, Kia and Mercedes-Benz commanded an average 6.5-8.7 percent over their sticker prices in June, those coming from Buick, Lincoln, and Ram sold for around one percent below their MSRPs.
Clearly, the models that are in the shortest supply at dealerships, due to a lack of shipped inventory and/or overwhelming demand, will not only be the hardest to find, but will be the most difficult to drive off the lot with any kind of discount. Shoppers will find the biggest markups on red-hot models like the Ford Bronco SUV, which has been in such great demand that dealerships have stopped taking orders for the 2022 model year. To identify which new vehicles are currently in the highest demand and shortest supply, the automotive website iSeeCars.com looked at over 224,000 transactions taking during June to determine how many days a given model lingers in a dealer’s inventory before being sold.
The top ride in this regard, the subcompact Subaru Crosstrek SUV, sits in stock for a mere 12.9 days before being driven off the lot. The industry average is currently at 37.2 days, while in the pre-pandemic era 50 days was considered typical. We’re featuring the 20 quickest sellers below.
It’s more or less the same story on the used-car end of the lot, where EVs, hybrids, and small cars are sitting in stock for the shortest intervals. According to iSeeCars.com, the Tesla Model Y crossover tops this list, lingering for an average 24.9 days before being sold. Other scarce pre-owned models include Tesla’s Model 3 and Model X, the Toyota Prius and Prius Prime, and the full-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. Attesting to its current demand, we’ve seen 2021 Mach-Es being listed on used vehicle sites for as much as a staggering $17,000 more than their original sticker prices.
In the meantime, car shoppers are advised to remain opportunistic and keep both an open-mind—and wallet—to find anything close to their chosen rides as they want them equipped. “New car inventory is expected to remain tight through 2022 as microchip shortages persist and as automakers struggle to meet pent-up demand,” says iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Shoppers should act quickly if they see their desired vehicle for sale, and buyers will likely need to be flexible on color and trim options for in-demand models.”
In the meantime, here are the fastest-selling new vehicles on the market right now, based on iSeeCars.com’s data, for which shoppers should expect low inventories and high prices, with their average days-to-sell periods and transaction prices noted:
- Subaru Crosstrek: 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 Trailblazer: 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.