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Americans on Verge of Buying 1 Million Pricey Cars

A milestone that shows in stark terms the growing income gap.

In the latest sign Americans are comfortable paying more for what they'll drive, the country is on the cusp of major milestone. This year, automakers are on pace to sell more than one million vehicles in the U.S. with transaction prices of at least $50,000 according to new data compiled by TrueCar.

"I'm not surprised so many of these higher priced models are selling right now," said John Krafcik, President of TrueCar. "Buying a car for $55,000 or $60,000 has become the new norm for those who are fairly well off." The growth in sales of higher priced models is stunning when compared with the auto industry overall. From January through November 931,064 vehicles were sold in the U.S. with average price above $50,000, a whopping 30.8 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to TrueCar. Meanwhile, the data compiled for CNBC shows sales of models with average transaction prices under $50,000 are up just 4.1 percent this year. Two types of vehicles are driving the growing sales of models costing more than $50,000: Luxury models and High Priced SUV's.


-- Phil LeBeau, CNBC