With household incomes rising and sticker prices holding steady, cars and trucks are at their most affordable level in 22 years, according to statistics from Comerica Bank. It now takes just 22.7 weeks of median family income before taxes to buy the average car, down from a peak of 30 weeks in 1992, according to statistics from the Detroit-based bank. In 1979, it took 22.6 weeks of income to buy a car. The favorable pricing stems from increased global competition and a glut of new cars, minivans and trucks worldwide, The Detroit News reported May 20. Asian and European carmakers are using an onslaught of new products and favorable currency rates to apply tremendous pressure on Detroit's auto companies, who are battling back for market share by offering deep discounts and low-cost financing. The high-stakes turf war has placed consumers firmly in the driver's seat. The wealthiest one-fifth of the U.S. population buys eight of 10 new vehicles, which sell for an average of $22,000. The average transaction price has stayed flat for the last few years even as manufacturers have added more features. While flat prices are good news for new-car buyers, the deflationary pressures that have kept prices from climbing has been devastating to Detroit's automakers. The toll of incentives was made clear when Ford, General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG reported dramatically lower first-quarter earnings this year. Since World War II, automakers have normally raised prices by 2 period to 3 percent -- sometimes more -- at the beginning of each model year, followed by occasional midyear price increases. But in recent years, the automakers have been holding the line on prices. This is especially true of Detroit's automakers, as they fight to hold on to an eroding U.S. market.