The percentage of Americans' annual incomes needed to buy a new car has reached its lowest level since 1989, according to the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association's (MEMA) Automotive Industry Status Report 2000. A new car purchase took five months or 22.5 weeks of the average American's after-tax salary in 1999 compared to 22.3 weeks salary in 1989. The average new vehicle sold for $21,022 in 1999, up one percent from 1998 and three percent above the 1997 average. Since 1981, Americans have had to spend at least 20 weeks' after-tax salary on new vehicles.