The cost of buying a car across the decades



Whether we’re proud petrolheads who love our cars or just need a reliable motor to get from A to B, vehicles are an important purchase – with more than 31 million sold every year in the UK.

But how much does the average car cost? A series of data cards looking at the economy across the last five decades shows that the price is closely linked to the size of our pay packets.

In 1975, when the Ford Cortina was the most popular model on the market, people paid £1,840 for a car. The average salary at that time was £1,809.

By 1985, when tastes had moved on to the Ford Escort, people earned £6,997 and had to pay £6,340 for a car.

Ten years later, the Ford Escort was still top of the tree, yet pay packets had grown a little quicker than car prices. The average salary in 1995 was £13,302, while the average car was £11,400.

That trend continued into 2005 – although by then the Ford Focus reigned supreme. Employees earned £20,215, while the price of the typical car was more than £6,000 cheaper.

By the time 2015 came around – with the Ford Fiesta now top dog – the average car price reached £21,164 and the average salary was £25,608.

It seems destined that salaries and car prices will be very closely linked, with manufacturers having to bear in mind the spending power of shoppers who need the help of a personal loan to take a new car off the forecourt.

This will be something to watch when it comes to self-driving cars, which will need to become ‘affordable’ before they can become a mainstream proposition. Ford, top of the charts in all of the decades listed above, reckons that will take until 2025.











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