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Average sticker price tops $30,000
But automakers continue offering bigger discounts

By Greg Schneider / The Washington Post

The average sticker price of a new car or light truck last month topped $30,000 for the first time as manufacturers raised prices and buyers chose cars and trucks with more expensive options, according to an analysis by

Carmakers gave with one hand and took away with the other, offering bigger discounts to lure customers and simultaneously raising suggested retail prices to make up some of the difference, said Jesse Toprak, director of pricing and market analysis at Edmunds.

Many buyers used the discounts to buy pricier vehicles -- moving up from a regular pickup to an extended-cab model, for example, because the discount made the option seem "free," Toprak said.

That's good news for domestic automakers, who make more money from add-ons and fancy trim packages than on basic vehicles.

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