PRICE CREEP: Average selling prices for U.S. cars and trucks hit a record $31,252 in August, $1,000 higher than a year ago.
THE REASONS: Low interest rates and cheap leases allow buyers to add features yet keep monthly payments in check. Plus, sales of expensive pickup trucks have jumped this year, also driving up prices.
THE FUTURE: Automakers and analysts say prices could start dropping soon because people who have waited to replace their aging cars are likely to be more price-conscious. But the drop will be limited because of strong demand.