BANDON, Ore. — CNW Research called August a "mixed bag of good and bad news." Officials said average MSRP for vehicles sold during the month was $31,168, up from $31,149 in July, marking the first month-to-month increase since June.

However, due to larger incentives, average transaction prices were down.

Moreover, the floor-traffic index dropped to 111 from 114. It stood at 122 a year ago, executives noted.

"Closing ratios held steady for the industry at 21.72 percent, compared to 21.44 percent in July," Art Spinella, of CNW Research, explained. "But, they still trailed a year ago by slightly more than 10 percent.

"Numbers also varied widely by manufacturer. Retail deliveries, excluding fleet and commercial acquisitions, dropped a serious 6.1 percent versus July, while the Jitters Index remained flat after a few months of increases," Spinella continued.

He also reported that independent lease companies are losing ground to captives, meaning total lease share is flat even with captives posting increases.

Finally, he said that incentives were provided on 62 percent of vehicles sold in August, compared to 61 percent in the prior month.

CNW also looked at used-vehicle transaction prices by market. According to officials, Florida walked away with top marks, taking the top two places.

"August data shows Florida grabbing the top two spots of the United States' 200-plus DMAs in terms of average used-car transaction prices," said Spinella. "West Palm Beach at $12,809 in July hooked top honors, while a surprising Miami-Ft. Lauderdale took second, beating out Palm Springs, Calif., by a substantial $700 per unit average.
"The mid-summer month's data for the top 20 DMAs show franchised dealers selling between 31 to 37 percent of all used-cars retailed, with independent dealers between 29 to 35 percent," he continued. "The rest are private party sales."

Spinella went on to report that markets varied widely when it came to the ratio of shoppers for each used unit sold. For instance, in Cincinnati, he said each vehicle averaged 2.79 shoppers, while Pittsburgh averaged 3.36 for each unit.

"Transaction prices as a share of Census Bureau DMS household income shows some intriguing variations as well," he pointed out. "In Detroit, the average transaction prices represented only 17 percent of HHI, while in West Palm Beach and Ft. Pierce, it was more than 27 percent."

CNW's top markets by transaction price were: 
1. West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce, Fla.

Franchised: $16,897

Independent: $12,623

Casual: $8,789

Average: $12,819


2. Miami and Ft. Lauderdale

Franchised: $13,086

Independent: $11,592

Casual: $7,854

Average: $10,901


3. Palm Springs, Calif.

Franchised: $11,647

Independent: $9,868

Casual: $9,138

Average: $10,227


4. Charleston, S.C.

Franchised: $11,924

Independent: $9,978

Casual: $7,369

Average: $9,758


5. Atlanta

Franchised: $11,907

Independent: $9,277

Casual: $7,564

Average: $9,606


6. Boston, Mass. (Manchester, N.H.)

Franchised: $10,893  

Independent: $9,274

Casual: $7,206

Average: 9,310


7. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich.

Franchised: $10,782

Independent: $8,934

Casual: $8,023

Average: $9,258


8. Baltimore

Franchised: $10,623

Independent: $8,794

Casual: $8,159

Average: $9,251


9. Jacksonville, Fla.

Franchised: $10,862

Independent: $9,153

Casual: $7,525

Average: $9,250


10. Providence, R.I., and New Bedford, Mass.

Franchised: $10,825

Independent: $9,162

Casual: $7,367

Average: $9,196

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