For Middle-Class Shoppers, New Cars Are Moving out of Reach

With the average vehicle price reaching $35,000 but incomes stagnant, even low interest rates aren't enough to put a lot of people into a new car.

Eddie Collision

It's getting tougher to buy all of those nice cars you see in the TV ads. With vehicle prices constantly climbing, this shouldn't be a big surprise. But according to CBS News, some middle-class families are getting priced out of the new-car market altogether.

Car Prices Rising, Income Isn't

Let's start with some numbers. First up, the cars themselves. The average price for a new car in the U.S was around $35,000 last year, and, according to Experian Automotive, the average new-car loan was $32,119 in the second quarter of 2019. New cars or trucks cost around 38 percent more today than they did 10 years ago, with the transaction price for some popular SUVs and trucks more like 60 or 70 percent higher than in 2009. Compare that to the change in real median household incomes in the past decade, which went from around $59,000 in 2009 to $62,000 in 2018. In other words, not a 60 or 70 percent increase, or even 38 percent.


-Car & Driver