Back in Nov. 2008 I took a look at History of new car costs and average inflation At that point I showed that prices for new cars were fairly flat at the time and in the 2000's they were on a downward trend. The annual change in the 2000's up till 2008 was -0.4%. I figured I'd take another look at car prices over history to update it. I got the price index for new vehicles at the BLS CPI page. Below is the index value for the month of January from Jan. 1981 to Jan. 2010.
As you can see the trend since about 1994 is pretty flat overall but has been gradually going down. In 2010 prices went up a little bit compared to 2009.
If we zoom in a little more to show the last 15 years we see a little more detail:
A few things to note here. I'm showing just the January prices. The price month to month will vary some and I arbitrarily picked January just to keep the charts simpler. Also this is just an index so its not exactly representative of what a car will cost. Its more an overall picture of what people are paying for cars.