While Japanese cars, specifically Hondas and Toyotas, remain popular, their prices remain near all time highs.
In July, Honda represented just over 20% of CarWoo! transactions. Toyota claimed another 19% of those transactions. For all of 2011, Honda is responsible for 23% and Toyota for 20% of transactions.
Even though they’re still devoted to Japanese cars, consumers are beginning to pay a pretty penny for them. Prices began to rise in late March after the Japanese tsunami and reached record highs in the May/June period. The Toyota Prius is selling at nearly 0.5% above MSRP; Honda’s Civic is selling at only 1.99% below MSRP, compared to 13.5% discounts in February of this year.
This chart, compiled with data from the CarWoo! Marketplace, demonstrates the drastic change in new car savings throughout 2011. The shift between April and May is the most significant. While July does show some additional savings over June, it’s clear that new Japanese car prices are currently quite high.
So what’s the cash-cognizant consumer to do? Buy now or wait until the fall when prices go down? Based on this data, I’d recommend checking out some American alternatives if you’re dead set on buying this summer. The Hybrid Ford Fusion is a decent competitor to the Prius, and as CarWoo! revealed a couple of months ago, it’s not at all a bad time to buy a Ford.
If you’ve got your heart set on a Japanese car, you may want to wait until the fall to make your final purchase. Though there’s nothing stopping you from trying out CarWoo! to see what prices you can get now.
Toyota and Honda are projecting return to normal inventory levels in late August. We’ll see how long it takes the savings to catch up.