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Car affordability index holds steady

November 23, 2010
It took about 20 weeks of median family income to buy an average-priced new car, according to the Auto Affordability Index compiled by Comerica Bank. Despite an increase in auto prices, the index is flat with the fourth quarter, thanks to steep incentives. The index shows that the cost of an average-priced new car, including finance charges, hit $25,197 in the first quarter, up 1.1 percent from the fourth quarter but 0.2 percent lower than a year ago. CNW Marketing Research tracks a similar figure, computing the ratio between buyer's income and the transaction price. The ratio hit a high of 3.31 in January 1992. In April, that figure was down to 2.97, compared with 2.84 for April 2002.