Cars More Affordable Than in 1980

August 8, 2008
If you're in the market for a new car, take heart: a Detroit-area bank says new cars haven't been this affordable since early 1980.

Comerica Bank's latest quarterly assessment for the affordability of new cars finds that it now takes 23.1 weeks of work for the average family, with an average income, to buy a new car. The figure is almost a week less than the quarter before, and almost two weeks less than a year ago.

Comerica figures that the average price of a new vehicle in the U.S. is $27,704, including finance charges. The new numbers make a new car more affordable than at any time since early 1980--roughly, since TheCarConnection.com's team was deciding which TrapperKeeper would look the coolest in third grade.

"With gasoline prices soaring, interest rates on car loans rising, and the economy wobbly, those consumers who are still in the market for a new vehicle are opting for less expensive models," said Dana Johnson, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank, which is keeping the lid on new car prices. Johnson adds that consumers are going for longer loans to cope--with the Comerica average checking in at almost 64 months for a new car loan, up 2 months over the past year.

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