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Auto Affordability Slips in Q3, Comerica Bank Reports

November 29, 2011

DALLAS — Auto affordability fell in the third quarter, continuing the declining trend since affordability peaked in 2009, Comerica Bank reported earlier this month. Robert Dye, the bank’s chief economist, attributed the fall to weak income growth this year.

“Tepid jobs gains and flat wages are keeping income growth in check, and this is a drag against a typical post-recession rebound in auto sales,” he said. “The good news for auto dealers is that product is back up after the supply-chain disruptions of earlier this year. Interest rates are low and there is a lot of pent-up demand for new autos. We simply need to see more job creation to support ongoing improvement in auto sales.”

The purchase and financing of an average-priced new vehicle took 24.2 weeks of median family income in the third quarter of 2011, slightly more than the 24 weeks of median family income in the second quarter. Consumers, on average, spent $650 more (an increase of 2.6 percent) on new cars in the third quarter.

Visit for more information on Comerica’s auto affordability report.

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