Detroit Auto Show 2019: Affordability tops concerns for NADA’s CEO Peter Welch

Average American consumers getting priced out of the new-vehicle market is “probably the biggest thing” that Peter Welch worries about, the CEO of the National Automobile Dealers Association said Tuesday at the Automotive News World Congress here.

Welch said the latest figures he’s seen — through October of last year — show new vehicle retail prices hitting an all-time high of $35,377, with an average monthly payment at $538 and interest rates up to an average of 5.76 percent on new vehicles and to about 9 percent on used ones. Loan terms are longer than ever, and now average 64.3 months. And the number of vehicles delivering $1,000-a-month payments has never been higher, he said.

“You know, people buying $55,000 pickup trucks with $1,000-a-month payments — I’ve never seen it,” Welch said. “A lot of people don’t think that’s sustainable.”