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Car Loan Terms Getting Lengthier, Reports Show

Multiple news agencies have reported that the rise of the price of the average vehicle has pushed consumers to take up loner terms in order to be able to afford a vehicle.

In some cases, consumers end up being linked to 65, 75 and even 95-month car loan, which keeps drivers chained to their payments for longer but also keeps payments under $500 per month. During the final quarter of 2012, most consumers were signing up for longer car loan payments that could stretch out to 65 months. According to a recent research carried out by Experian, about 17 percent of all car loans averaged 73 and 84 month-terms. The research also showed that some of these loans were as long as 97 months.

About four years ago, only 11 percent of all car loans reached such lengthy terms.

Experts say that when it comes to longer terms, consumers and lenders may face certain risks that are not present when the loan is not as lengthy. According to the reports, a six or even seven-year loan could put the consumer in a place that would be unfavorable since they do not reach the point where they owe less on the vehicle they purchased than it actually is worth. This type of risk, known as being “upside down” could make it more difficult for consumers to attempt to sell they vehicle if they feel they cannot afford the payments any longer.

Automakers also feel tickled when it comes to long-term payment plans and loans. If a consumer chooses to take on a longer term, it can keep them from wanting to replace their vehicles since they will be paying for them for longer, which could keep companies from putting their hands on the profit linked to future sales.

While experts looked into car loans and the banks that were offering these lengthier terms, most banks declined to talk about the subject.

While experts believe that the credit availability has made the lengthier terms a reality, some also believe that the same factor that has made many consumers purchase better and newer vehicles could be the same factor that pushed the auto industry down the cliff during the major financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

According to recent reports, the average age of most vehicles on the road is 11 years. Certain lengthier loans may seem absurd to some but they could work for consumers who are willing to stay attached to the plan, and to the car, until the end of the term.

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About the Author
The Vachon Law Firm is based in Southern California and focuses exclusively on consumer protection litigation.