DETROIT-The total cost of buying the average new car in the U.S., including financing, rose to $22,136 in the second quarter of 1994, according to an economist. It was the highest cost recorded by economist David L. Littmann's Auto Affordability Index.
Mr. Littmann, senior economist for Comerica Bank, said a family with the median income of $37,336 a year worked 30.8 weeks to earn enough to buy that average car, up from 30.3 weeks in the first quarter, when the average car cost was $21,453.
He expects the growth in new car and truck sales to slow but continue this year, with truck sales accounting for most of it.
Many buyers have shifted allegiance from passenger cars to trucks or vans, which are a better relative value, he said, because the government has ordered fewer changes in pollution control and other equipment than on cars. The economic recovery has favored growth in truck sales, he added.
Mr. Littmann expects the growth cycle to continue through next year for the automotive industry, but that 1996 might show a sales decline for vehicle makers.