New Real Car Prices Fell by $2,500 from 1998-2006
Thanks to an anonymous comment for the link to this Dept. of Energy website with data on the Average Price of a New Car from 1970 to 2006, in both current and constant dollars. The chart above shows the real, inflation-adjusted average price of a new car from 1976 to 2006 (in constant 2006 dollars).
What's interesting is that the real price of a new car fell by 10% from 1998 ($25,186) to 2006 ($22,651), and decreased in 7 out those 8 years, or by a total of $2,535 during that period.
Note that this measure of retail car prices does NOT adjust for the continual quality improvements over time in new vehicles, while the CPI: New Cars measure does (see post below).