Cheap auto loans at their cheapest
Those buying cars last month had access to auto loans with the lowest annual percentage rates (APRs) on record, according to data published January 20 by Edmunds.com, a provider of automotive information. The average APR was 4.15 percent, down 0.55 points on the same month in 2009, and 0.33 points on the November 2010 figure.
Of course, those sorts of rates are only available to those with spotless credit records, and that average was dragged down by the 15.4 percent of auto loans that carried zero percent promotional rates. However, it seems likely that most car buyers had access to better rates than they could have hoped to secure for some years–or possibly ever.
Cheap auto loans translating into car sales?
A week after unveiling its interest rate data, Edmunds.com came out with its forecasts for light vehicle sales for this month (January). And these continued a run of good news for carmakers.
The company expects sales (both fleet and retail) to reach 816,000 units in January, which is 17.3 percent up on the same month last year. Its analysts say that would translate into an annualized rate (seasonally adjusted) of 12.57 million vehicles. In a statement, one of them, Jessica Caldwell, commented:
January’s sales figures continue a trend of steady, sustainable growth for the auto industry. What’s even more encouraging is that this month’s figures were less dependent on fleet sales than last year. That means 2011 is already seeing a more robust retail market supported by individual consumers.
Winners and losers
When it comes to increased sales, Chrysler seems to be the clear winner in the January 2011 tables. It’s expected to sell 31.6 percent more units than it did last January. It’s a shame that other American manufacturers didn’t do as well. Ford’s rise was 12.8 percent while GM managed 11.1 percent.
Those last two didn’t compare well with Japanese carmakers, three of which showed bigger gains: Honda (21.3 percent); Toyota (18.8 percent); and Nissan (15.0 percent). However, it’s hard not to read the figures as positive news for the American economy as a whole.
Cars back for the Super Bowl
Carmakers and others associated with the auto industry will be well represented during commercial breaks in this Sunday’s Super Bowl, according to The Financial Times of January 30. It says that they’ll be taking up to a third of the available advertising time. And, at between $2.5m and $3 m for a 30-second ad, that’s a sure sign of new life in the car market.
If you feel that now is the time for you to join the countless people who are driving home in new or used cars, then why not get some auto loans quotes today?
by Ethan Leak