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Payment Gap Between New and Used Hits All-Time High in Q2, Experian Reports

August 27, 2015

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Experian Automotive reported today that the gap between the average monthly payments for new and used vehicles during the second quarter reached a record $122 — the largest margin since Experian began publicly reporting auto finance data in 2008.

According to the firm, the average monthly payment for a new vehicle was $483, while the average monthly payment for a used vehicle was $361. But not only did the monthly-payment gap widen during the quarter, so did gap in total loan amounts, with the average new-vehicle and used-vehicle finance amounts reaching $28,524 and $18,671, respectively — a difference of $9,853.

“As the price of new vehicles continues to rise, and the gap between monthly payments for new and used vehicles widens, we see more and more consumers looking for ways to keep their vehicle payments affordable,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive finance. “This could be especially true for consumers who have the financial ability to pursue a new vehicle but may have sticker shock at the rising prices and don’t want the accompanying high monthly payments.”

And consumers took advantage of stretching loan terms to keep their monthly payments affordable, especially for used vehicles. According to Experian, the percentage of used vehicles financed for 73 to 84 months increased by 14.8% from a year ago to 16.1% — the highest percentage on record. Additionally, new vehicles financed for the same term length climbed 19.7% from a year ago to 28.8% in the second quarter.

Leasing also continued to be a popular option for payment-conscious car buyers, with the transaction type’s share of all vehicles financed during the quarter rising 30.2% from a year ago to 31.5%. And according to Experian’s analysis, lease terms extended past the 36-month average into the 37- to 48-month range, an 18% increase. Additionally, the average lease payment dropped $13 a month from a year ago to $394.

“The automotive finance market continues to progress in response to consumer demand,” said Zabritski. “The availability of different financing options allows consumers to stretch their dollar and more easily find a vehicle that meets their budgetary needs.”

Experian Automotive also reported that the share of used-vehicle financing rose from 53.8% one year ago to an all-time high of 55.5 percent. Also reaching a record high was the percentage of new vehicles financed, which rose from 85% in the year-ago period to 85.8%.

The average credit score for a new-vehicle loan dropped two points from last year to reach 709, while the average credit score for a used loan increased one point to 645 over the same time period.

Also during the second quarter, the average interest rate for a new-vehicle loan was 4.8%, up from 4.6% in the year-ago period. The interest rate for used vehicle loans was 9.1 percent, up from 8.8 percent over the same time period.

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