Car prices fall as inventories return to normal

June 27, 2012 5:41:12 PM PDT
New vehicle prices have dropped $500 in the past year, mainly because Japanese automakers have restocked dealers after car shortages in 2011.

The Kelley Blue Book auto pricing service says models from Japanese automakers such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Accord have seen the biggest declines, while Detroit's models haven't dropped quite as much.

Toyota, Honda and smaller Japanese automakers ran short of cars after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March of 2011, knocking out power and hampering auto assembly and parts production. The shortages weren't fully resolved until a few months ago. With few cars to sell last summer, Toyota and Honda dealers had little reason to offer discounts.

But now that they're fully restocked, the discounts are back.

Here are some of the big changes: the Toyota Prius sold for $25,150 in 2011. Now it sells for $22,650. That's $2,500 less. The Honda Civic went for $18,800 last year. Now it sells for $17,250 -- a drop of $1,550. And a Mazda Sport Sedan selling for $17,300 last year, now goes for $16,100.

KGO contributed to this report.


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