New vehicle prices are falling at the fastest rate recorded, according to a team of analysts that includes auto and economic researchers.

A research report released this week says the average price of a new vehicle fell 2.3% from a year earlier to $25,632. That’s the steepest drop recorded since new car sales tracking began 41 years ago.

The price decline expected to lead to better affordability and could translate into a big recovery for auto sales by the second half of 2009.

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