JR points out that the average American can no longer afford a new car, but he gives only part of the reason. Yes, part high cost of cars is that the workers are paid above-market wages. But a bigger part is that endless government regulations and mandates are running up the (real, not just inflated) cost. Two airbags were expensive enough; now even compact cars have six or more. All those anti-pollution rules, CAFE standards, and safety features add to the cost, big-time.
I am in the market for a new car (250K+ miles on my 2003 Saturn Ion). I was looking at a Subaru because of the 4WD (NE WI winters!). Subaru is a rather inexpensive brand.
They want close to $23K for a compact car. No wonder they don't sell many.