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In September 2021, the average price paid for a new Chevy vehicle was more than $50,000. For reference, not counting performance or commercial vehicles, the highest priced Chevy models are the Tahoe and Suburban. These two SUVs start at $49,600 and $52,300, respectively. Using analysis from Kelley Blue Book’s sales data, GM Authority first reported that the average price was so high. What caused one of the most affordable automakers’ vehicles to sell for so much money?

Chevy vehicle sales numbers, from KBB

black 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country driving near a lake
2022 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country | Chevrolet

According to KBB, the average transaction price (ATP) of Chevy vehicles increased by 7.1 percent between August and September. That was a jump from $47,095 to $50,451, which is also 23.3 percent higher than September of 2020. Take that with a grain of salt, as September 2020 was a major low point for car sales affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry average for the month was $45,031, which Chevy passed easily.

That seems a bit weird for a brand known for providing good prices and value in its vehicles. Chevy along with other brands is seeing an increase in its ATP due to the rising popularity of mid and full-size SUVs, and pickup trucks. It doesn’t hurt that it sold the C8 Corvette for an average of $89,788 in September as well. If the SUVs weren’t enough, that Corvette can certainly boost the average sales price.

High prices due to high demand

A red Corvette C8 in front of a black and grey background.
Corvette C8

GM Authority quoted Kayla Reynolds, an analyst for Cox Automotive discussing how these increased ATPs are due to the popularity of large vehicles. “The record-high prices in September are mostly a result of the mix of vehicles sold, midsize SUV sales jumped in September compared to August and full-size pickup share moved up as well. Sales of lower-priced compact and midsize cars, which had been commanding more share during the summer, faded in September. As long as new-vehicle inventory remains tight, we believe prices will remain elevated.”

The semiconductor shortage has caused low inventory across the entire country, which also plays a factor. Dealers are unable to receive the proper amount of inventory to meet customer demand. This means the vehicles they do have are firmly priced at MSRP, or sometimes even more. Customers have surprisingly shown willingness to purchase vehicles above sticker price if it is one they really want.

How does Chevy compare to other automakers?

Silver 2022 Lexus LX 600 driving on a dirt road
2022 Lexus LX 600 | Lexus

Sales for the Chevy Camaro Are Worse Than Ever

Chevy is a rare case for this type of increase in ATP. This is partly because it is a cheaper brand that specializes in the highly demanded vehicle types. The Tahoe, Suburban, Corvette, and even Silverado models are in such high demand that Chevy’s numbers are boosted. A brand that does not have all those options, like Lexus isn’t seeing quite as much of a jump in ATP.

Lexus’ ATP was $53,316 according to CarScoops, which is only a slight $2,865 more than Chevy. Lexus’ lowest starting price in its entire lineup is the UX compact crossover, which starts at $33,000. The majority of its vehicles are more than $40,000, with a large number being tens of thousands more than the most expensive Chevy models. That’s surely a prime example of how much pricing and sales are affected simply by meeting the demand of consumers.

Known for being one of the most affordable automotive brands in the market, Chevy is getting pretty expensive. Experts don’t expect the chip shortage to stop any time soon, noting it will likely go deep into 2023. That means as long as the demand stays elevated, Chevy’s average transaction prices will likely stay above $50,000. After all, at this point, the brand is establishing itself in the luxury market, barely cheaper than a Lexus.