Salary Needed for Vehicle Purchase Lowest in Years

Since 1981, Americans have had to spend at least 20 weeks’ after-tax salary on new
vehicles. However, according to the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association’s
(MEMA) Automotive Industry Status Report 2000, the percentage of Americans’ annual incomes
needed to buy a new vehicle is at its lowest level since 1989. A new vehicle purchase took
22.5 weeks of the average American’s after-tax salary in 1999, compared to 22.3 weeks’
salary in 1989. The average new vehicle sold for $21,022 in 1999, up 1 percent from 1998
and 3 percent above the 1997 average.

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