A couple looks at the sticker price of a car.

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With demand for new cars still outstripping supply at many dealerships, buyers may wonder if they need to pay more than the average manufacturer’s suggested retail price or sticker price to get the car they want.

September marked a record sixteenth consecutive month that the average new car transaction price, or what a buyer actually paid higher than sticker priceaccording to Kelley Blue Book.

Automakers have faced significant inventory shortages over the past year due to shortages of computer chips and other supply chain problems, pushing up prices as buyers scramble for the few cars available. While the average price paid for a new car in the U.S. in September was down 0.3% from August, or about $146, that figure was still up significantly from last year. In September, the average price paid for a new car was $48,094, an increase of 6.1%, or $2,775.

Automakers say demand remains steady, with Cox Automotive forecasting new vehicle sales in the third quarter at 3.4 million, down less than 1% from last year. General Motors Company said that his auto sales up 24% in third quarter compared to a year ago, while BMW and Hyundai also reported increases in sales over the same period.

But there are signs that the new cars are there return to stock and many consumers choose it spend less and save more as they deal with inflation and potential recession. Does this mean new car buyers should stop paying more than MSRP?

Brian Moody, executive editor of Kelley Blue Book, said that while any potential new car buyer should continue to feel comfortable paying at least MSRP, consumers concerned about sticker shock at the dealership should consider next steps , to find potential savings.

Look for price breaks at local dealerships

Expand your potential choice of cars

One of the main reasons new car prices are so high is buying luxury cars. Luxury car buyers paid an average of $65,775 in September, down slightly from August’s record high of $65,835. Also, luxury car buyers tend to pay more than the MSRP. For example, Mercedes-Benz buyers paid 2% to 4% more than the sticker price.

Moody said being open to other automakers, even in the same vehicle category, could save buyers money. For example, Audi and Lexus luxury car buyers paid just under 1% below MSRP in September.

This was also the case for non-luxury automakers Ford, Honda and Toyota, which also averaged about 1% below MSRP in September.

“If you drive model by model, car by car, there may be a way to save you money,” Moody said.

Consider a used car

If saving money is a top priority, potential car buyers may want to look into the used car market, where the supply and demand picture is very different from that of new cars.

While there are roughly 1.2 million new cars in the U.S., the used car market is more than double that number, Moody said.

In addition, the average price of used cars has been steadily declining, even if it is down from a very high mark. The average used car sold for $28,061 in August, down 4% year-over-year but still up nearly 40% from December 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recent drop is a function of slowing used car sales, which fell 9% in August from a year earlier, making it even more likely that you can get a good deal on a used car lot.

Determine if you want to trade

If you doubt that the window sticker and the seller are drastically different, you’re not alone.

Most buyers don’t like the negotiation process when buying a new car, Moody said, and some dealers have responded by moving to a one-price model, more like buying a new TV, where the listed price is what any buyer would pay.

“You wouldn’t go to Target and see a TV for $900 and bring it to the register and be asked to pay $750,” Moody said. “We are seeing increasing adoption of the single price model as there are more buyers who prefer it or are even willing to pay more to eliminate the negotiation process.”

Moody said if you like to haggle, you can certainly still try, but he noted that with supply still relatively low and demand still relatively high, many sellers “don’t have time to entertainment”.

“They want to sell as many cars as possible just to move on to the next customer,” he said.

If you want a popular car, be prepared

But if you’re aiming for a Jeep Wrangler or a Ford Bronco, two of the best-selling car models right now, you might have to accept that you’ll have to pay more than the sticker price.

“If you want to go out and buy what everybody wants, you’re going to pay more,” Moody said. “You’re not going to be able to go and ask for it to be priced $1,000 below MSRP; it won’t work because there are 10 people waiting to buy that car at more than MSRP.”

Ultimately, the trick to finding a deal right now for a new car buyer is to “look for the less popular stuff,” Moody said.