1953 Cadillac Eldorado
1953 Cadillac Eldorado by Alden Jewell (CC BY)

The Average Car Price the Year You Were Born

View Slideshow
1953 Cadillac Eldorado
1953 Cadillac Eldorado by Alden Jewell (CC BY)

Sticker Shock

Theres’s plenty having to do with cars that changes year by year, from body styles and paint options to the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance, but one thing that has changed the most over decades is the average car price. Cheapism pulled together a list of top-selling cars every year from 1940 through today, using data from J.D. Power’s NADA Guides to record the price they were sold at the year they made their debut, also showing the price in 2022 dollars.


Related: The Bestselling Cars From the Past 42 Years

1940 Series 62
1940 Series 62 by Sicnag (CC BY)

1940

Average price: $725

Adjusted for inflation: $14,438

Chevrolet makes more than 1 million cars, leading the industry for the year and becoming the first automaker to surpass the 1 million mark since 1930. This year also sees the emergence of three substantial industry trends, including sealed-beam headlamps, which make driving at night easier; fully automatic transmission, led by Oldsmobile launching the Hydra-matic; and the first factory air conditioning system, which Packard debuted on its 180 Series.


Related: Classic Cars That Have Inspired Memorable Songs

Willys Americar Pickup 1941
Willys Americar Pickup 1941 by JOHN LLOYD (CC BY)

1941

Average price: $1,288

Adjusted for inflation: $24,428

1942 gas station
eBay

1942

Average price: $3,174

Adjusted for inflation: $54,289

One of the shortest production years in the history of the auto industry, with barely 1 million units made before civilian manufacturing halted in February and, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the focus turning to military production. Of the small number of passenger cars for the year, many showcase painted exterior trims rather than plated, since chromium is considered a strategic material.

The Jeep Was Built for War — Literally
US Army Signal Corps/National Archives USA
1946 Stylemaster
1946 Stylemaster by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

1946

Average price: $1,825

Adjusted for inflation: $26,093

1947 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Sedan
1947 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Sedan by Sicnag (CC BY)

1947

Average price: $1,313

Adjusted for inflation: $16,416

1948: NASCAR Runs Its First Race in Daytona Beach
Wikimedia Commons
1949 Packard Station Sedan
1949 Packard Station Sedan by CZmarlin (CC BY-SA)

1949

Average price: $1,425

Adjusted for inflation: $16,693

After World War II, the auto industry enters into its biggest boom since the 1920s. Consumers are ready for something new and innovative, and Ford answers by introducing a model with an entirely fresh design. Mercury, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile also modernize their models. GM introduces the Oldsmobile and Cadillac V8s in 1949, becoming the first manufacturer to produce that type of engine. 

1950 Ford F-3
1950 Ford F-3 by Gordonrox24 (None)

1950

Average price: $984

Adjusted for inflation: $11,384

1951 Westfalia Camping Box
1951 Westfalia Camping Box by Norbert Schnitzler (CC BY-SA)
1952 Chevrolet COE Suburban
1952 Chevrolet COE Suburban by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

1952

Average price: $3,977

Adjusted for inflation: $41,841

1953 Cadillac Eldorado
1953 Cadillac Eldorado by Alden Jewell (CC BY)

1953

Average price: $3,490

Adjusted for inflation: $36,443

1954 gas station
eBay
1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible (6 of 10)
1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible (6 of 10) by Randy von Liski (CC BY-NC-ND)

1955

Average price: $2,166

Adjusted for inflation: $22,533

An innovative year across the automotive industry. Manufacturers leave behind the postwar designs and embrace modern styles entirely. Chevrolet and Ford adopt wraparound windshields, and Chevrolet’s model for the year has a small-block V8 engine that is groundbreaking and even race-winning.


Related: Legendary and Iconic Chevys Through the Decades

1956 Cadillac Series 62 2 door Hardtop
1956 Cadillac Series 62 2 door Hardtop by Sicnag (CC BY)

1956

Average price: $3,120

Adjusted for inflation: $31,980

1957 Mercury Commuter 2-door
1957 Mercury Commuter 2-door by Josephew (CC BY-SA)

1957

Average price: $3,600

Adjusted for inflation: $35,718


A 1958 Chevrolet Apache pickup truck with the NAPCO Power-Pak conversion
A 1958 Chevrolet Apache pickup truck with the NAPCO Power-Pak conversion by Mr.choppers (CC BY-SA)

1958

Average price: $3,631

Adjusted for inflation: $35,029

1959 Cadillac Sedan DeVille (02)
1959 Cadillac Sedan DeVille (02) by Georg Sander (CC BY-NC)

1959

Average price: $5,000

Adjusted for inflation: $47,904

1960 Edsel Ranger Sedan
Wikimedia Commons

1960

Average price: $2,238

Adjusted for inflation: $21,080

Flashy designs with tall fins and an abundance of chrome started to dissipate by this year, with manufacturers focusing on simpler, less extravagant designs. Ford introduces its first three compact cars.


Related: 51 of the Smallest Cars Ever Made

1961 Impala SS 409
1961 Impala SS 409 by Lars-Göran Lindgren (CC BY-SA)

1961

Average price: $4,750

Adjusted for inflation: $44,291

1962 Chevy Corvette
1962 Chevy Corvette by Chad Horwedel (CC BY)

1962

Average price: $6,074

Adjusted for inflation: $56,074

1963 Dodge 880 station wagon at 2015 Macungie show
1963 Dodge 880 station wagon at 2015 Macungie show by Christopher Ziemnowicz (CC BY)
1964 Ford Mustang Convertible
FPG/Getty Images

1964

Average price: $2,780

Adjusted for inflation: $25,002

1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass
1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

1965

Average price: $2,398

Adjusted for inflation: $21,224

Following the debut of the Mustang in 1964, Ford sells a record-breaking 1 million units within the first 18 months of production. This surge compels other manufacturers to introduce their own versions of 2+2 sporty compacts — with full-sized front seats and back seats with less legroom — creating the pony car category.


Related: 16 Best Mustangs of All Time

1966 Fairlane 500 wagon
1966 Fairlane 500 wagon by Davelimmer (CC BY-SA)
1967 Camaro
1967 Camaro by François Martinez (CC BY-SA)

1967

Average price: $2,809

Adjusted for inflation: $23,448

1968 Volkswagen
Rolf_52 / iStock

1968

Average price: $3,506

Adjusted for inflation: $28,089

Fiat Dino Coupe, 1969 - SE-FD 72H - DSC_0924_Balancer
Fiat Dino Coupe, 1969 - SE-FD 72H - DSC_0924_Balancer by Lav Ulv (CC BY)
1970 GMC Pickup
1970 GMC Pickup by Bull-Doser (CC BY)

1970

Average price: $3,914

Adjusted for inflation: $28,125

Muscle cars peak in popularity, although the era drives on. The United Auto Workers participate in a 67-day strike at General Motors, causing the Ford Galaxie to snatch the No. 1 spot for sales that year.


Related: Biggest Worker Strikes in U.S. History

1971 Range Rover
1971 Range Rover by Paul Townsend (CC BY)

1971

Average price: $5,041

Adjusted for inflation: $34,702

VW 1302, Bauzeit: Sommer 1970 bis Sommer 1972
VW 1302, Bauzeit: Sommer 1970 bis Sommer 1972 by Lothar Spurzem (CC BY-SA)
1973 Chrysler Imperial Le Baron 04
1973 Chrysler Imperial Le Baron 04 by Nickmix01 (CC BY-SA)

1973

Average price: $3,415

Adjusted for inflation: $21,444

Chevrolet Corvette 1974
Wikimedia Commons

1974

Average price: $4,135

Adjusted for inflation: $23,384

AMC Pacer (1975-1979)
Wikimedia Commons

1975

Average price: $4,950

Adjusted for inflation: $25,652

Small cars arrive: American Motors introduces the Pacer, dubbing it America’s “first wide small car.” Chrysler debuts its own small car with the Cordoba. Originally designed as a Plymouth, the Cordoba unexpectedly becomes one of Chrysler’s most memorable cars.


Related: Legendary Vehicles From '70s and '80s TV Shows

1976 Eldorado Fleetwood Convertible
1976 Eldorado Fleetwood Convertible by Sicnag (CC BY)

1976

Average price: $4,775

Adjusted for inflation: $23,397

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am by Sicnag (CC BY)

1977

Average price: $5,456

Adjusted for inflation: $25,101

1978 Bronco Custom
Wikimedia Commons
1979 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Cheyenne
1979 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Cheyenne by 79k5driver (CC BY-SA)

1979

Average price: $5,605

Adjusted for inflation: $21,525

Bustle-back Cadillac Seville produced from 1980–1985.
Bustle-back Cadillac Seville produced from 1980–1985. by dave_7 (CC BY)

1980

Average price: $6,735

Adjusted for inflation: $22,788

Compact sedans grow in popularity. The General Motors X-body platform spent five years in development before the 1980 Chevy Citation is unveiled, making it the first passenger vehicle to display the body style. Other manufacturers follow the trend, introducing the Buick Skylark, Pontiac Phoenix, and Oldsmobile Omega.

1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)
1982 AMC Eagle
1982 AMC Eagle by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

1982

Average price: $6,406

Adjusted for inflation: $18,508

Custom 1983 A-Team van
Custom 1983 A-Team van by The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek (CC BY)
1984 Chevrolet Camaro
1984 Chevrolet Camaro by GPS 56 (CC BY)

1984

Average price: $11,299

Adjusted for inflation: $30,319

The best sales year for the auto industry since 1979, with 14.1 million cars and light trucks selling. The interest in larger, more luxurious (and expensive) vehicles increases, generating even more revenue for the industry.


Related: Crazy-Expensive Cars Destroyed by Hollywood

1985: CHEVROLET CAVALIER
Wikimedia Commons

1985

Average price: $7,799

Adjusted for inflation: $20,208

1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer by CZmarlin (CC BY-SA)

1986

Average price: $9,366

Adjusted for inflation: $23,825

1987-1992 Chrysler LeBaron
1987-1992 Chrysler LeBaron by chrisjcieslak (CC BY)
1988 California-spec VW Vanagon Wolfsburg Edition
1988 California-spec VW Vanagon Wolfsburg Edition by I, Alison (CC BY-SA)

1988

Average price: $11,999

Adjusted for inflation: $28,279

1989 Dodge Ram
1989 Dodge Ram by Scheinwerfermann (CC BY-SA)
1990 Dodge Ramcharger
1990 Dodge Ramcharger by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

1990

Average price: $13,800

Adjusted for inflation: $29,437

Auto sales begin to weaken from the recession. Automakers focus more on buying or investing in foreign manufacturers, but consumers lean further toward foreign vehicles as well. 


Related: Ugly Cars That Never Should Have Left the Assembly Line

1991: HONDA ACCORD
Wikimedia Commons

1991

Average price: $14,103

Adjusted for inflation: $28,869

1992 Jeep YJ
1992 Jeep YJ by Sfoskett~commonswiki (CC BY-SA)

1992

Average price: $12,807

Adjusted for inflation: $25,450

1993 Ford F-150, with dual fuel tanks
1993 Ford F-150, with dual fuel tanks by Henry.hilliard (CC BY-SA)
1994: FORD TAURUS
Wikimedia Commons

1994

Average price: $17,450

Adjusted for inflation: $32,828

1995: FORD TAURUS
Wikimedia Commons

1995

Average price: $20,095

Adjusted for inflation: $36,762

Automakers continue to push back against electric vehicles. While politicians argue EVs would help the environment, manufacturers argue that they would cost more to make and have little environmental impact. 

Ford Taurus (1996-1999)
Wikimedia Commons
1997: TOYOTA CAMRY
Wikimedia Commons

1997

Average price: $19,868

Adjusted for inflation: $34,512

1998 Dodge Intrepid 3.2 V6
1998 Dodge Intrepid 3.2 V6 by Kieran White (CC BY)

1998

Average price: $20,218

Adjusted for inflation: $34,582

Isuzu Vehicross (1999-2001)
Wikimedia Commons
Hyundai Tiburon (2000-2001)
Wikimedia Commons

2000

Average price: $18,745

Adjusted for inflation: $30,349

Chrysler PT Cruiser (2001-2010)
Chrysler PT Cruiser (2001-2010) by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

2001

Average price: $21,635

Adjusted for inflation: $34,078

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, another recession begins, heavily affecting the auto industry in terms of sales and profitability. Chrysler discontinues its Plymouth brand.

2002 Ford Thunderbird
2002 Ford Thunderbird by Chad Horwedel (CC BY-NC-ND)
2003 Honda S2000 Convertible
2003 Honda S2000 Convertible by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

2003

Average price: $22,260

Adjusted for inflation: $33,729

Toyota Camry 2004
Toyota Camry 2004 by Long Mai (CC BY-NC)

2004

Average price: $23,315

Adjusted for inflation: $34,411

Pontiac Aztek (2001-2005)
Pontiac Aztek (2001-2005) by Alexander Migl (CC BY-SA)
Chevrolet Aveo LT Sedan 2006
Chevrolet Aveo LT Sedan 2006 by RL GNZLZ (CC BY-SA)

2006

Average price: $20,375

Adjusted for inflation: $28,178

2007: TOYOTA CAMRY
Wikimedia Commons

2007

Average price: $25,795

Adjusted for inflation: $34,685

Toyota Tundra 2008
contrastaddict/istockphoto

2008

Average price: $28,120

Adjusted for inflation: $36,413

An automotive industry crisis arrives that lasts until 2010. Automakers are in weak financial condition and turn to the federal government for relief. Congress is reluctant to provide help to automakers, but General Motors and Chrysler do get financial assistance through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.


Related: Cars No One Wanted to Buy

2009 Volkswagen Routan photographed in College Park, Maryland, USA.
Wikimedia Commons

2009

Average price: $25,150

Adjusted for inflation: $32,684

2010 KIa Forte Koup
2010 KIa Forte Koup by Tino Rossini (CC BY)

2010

Average price: $23,165

Adjusted for inflation: $29,618

2011 Kia Sportage SX 2.0 Turbo GDi
2011 Kia Sportage SX 2.0 Turbo GDi by loubeat (CC BY)

2011

Average price: $26,170

Adjusted for inflation: $32,437


2012 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid
2012 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) (CC BY-SA)

2012

Average price: $27,400

Adjusted for inflation: $33,273

Unpretentious / 2013 Outlander Sport
Unpretentious / 2013 Outlander Sport by Mitsubishi Photos (CC BY)

2013

Average price: $24,855

Adjusted for inflation: $29,746

2014 Nissan Rogue
2014 Nissan Rogue by THE SMADE JOURNAL (CC BY)

2014

Average price: $25,430

Adjusted for inflation: $29,949

General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Chrysler realize the most auto sales in the United States for the year as Fiat takes ownership of Chrysler and its divisions, including Dodge, Ram Trucks, and Jeep. 


Related: Stunning Rolls-Royce Models (and 2 Duds)

2015 Kia Sedona
2015 Kia Sedona by Dave Pinter (CC BY-NC-ND)

2015

Average price: $22,970

Adjusted for inflation: $27,020

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD by Automotive Rhythms (CC BY-NC-ND)

2016

Average price: $25,715

Adjusted for inflation: $29,872

2017 Nissan Armada
2017 Nissan Armada by Automotive Rhythms (CC BY-NC-ND)
2018 Honda Odyssey
Honda

2018

Average price: $25,130

Adjusted for inflation: $27,902

Ford reveals its plan to discontinue all of its passenger cars with the exception of the Mustang. General Motors eventually follows, announcing its own decision to discontinue most passenger cars by 2022.

2019 Jeep Cherokee
Kevauto / Wikimedia Commons

2019

Average price: $24,765

Adjusted for inflation: $27,007

2020 Nissan Leaf
Nissan USA
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST by General Motors (CC BY-SA)

2021

Average price: $25,045

Tesla charging at Tesla Supercharger Station at the Brea Mall
sanfel/istockphoto