For many Americans, new cars are driving out of reach.
Jose Hernandez, 24, lives in East Los Angeles and makes $26,000 a year working the front desk at a clinic. After a trade-in, he financed a 2013 Civic EX for $25,000 at 2.3 percent for 6 years, paying $379 in monthly payments, plus $100 per month in insurance. He finds a new car can be a stretch.
"I believe most cars are slightly out of reasonable price range for the average American, especially considering most 'affordable' cars don't last very long and lose a lot of value rather quickly," he said.
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For many Americans, a car isn't a way to get from point A to point B, it's freedom. The promise of an automobile goes beyond the thrill of the open road or being able to get a late-night pint of ice cream when you want. With a car, you've arrived. And with a car, you can always leave. Social mobility, a new life in a new town, used to be just a black ribbon of interstate away.
Now, amid stagnant wages and a shaky recovery, the average new car price rose last year by $1,536.