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Data Point

With New-Vehicle Prices Climbing in April, Affordability Declines Further

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Article Highlights

  1. New-vehicle affordability declined slightly in April despite revised data indicating stronger income gains.
  2. The number of median weeks of income needed to purchase the average new vehicle in April increased to 40.6 weeks from a downwardly revised 40.2 weeks in March.
  3. The estimated number of weeks of median household income necessary to purchase the average new vehicle in April was up 18% from last year.

New-vehicle affordability declined slightly in April despite revised data indicating stronger income gains, according to the latest Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index. The inputs to the index again moved in differing directions in the month. The number of median weeks of income needed to purchase the average new vehicle in April increased to 40.6 weeks from a downwardly revised 40.2 weeks in March.

Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index

April 2022

Supporting affordability, median income in the U.S. grew 0.3% in April The revisions in the data for prior months were driven by updated data from the 2020 American Community Survey’s median household income estimates. The revisions to that data show income growth higher than previous estimates used to infer more recent median income data.

All other factors moved against affordability last month. The price paid moved 0.7% higher, due in part to incentives declining further. The average interest rate on a new-vehicle loan increased another 20 basis points. As a result of these moves, the estimated typical monthly payment increased 1.4% to $698, which was a new record high.

Even with the data revisions, the top-line story remains the same. New-vehicle affordability continues to be much worse now than a year ago when prices were notably lower and incentives were higher. The estimated number of weeks of median household income necessary to purchase the average new vehicle in April was up 18% from last year.

Click here for the full methodology for the Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index.

The next update of the Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index will be published on June 15, 2022.


The Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index (VAI) is updated monthly using the latest data from government and industry sources, including key pricing data from Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. This important industry measure will be released at mid-month to indicate if the prices paid for new vehicles are moving out of consumers’ financial reach or becoming more affordable over time.

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