Retailers, automakers need subprime

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
Years ago, I attended F&I training (a necessity if you're going to cover the topic) and I was struck by the attitude of some finance managers toward the subprime market.

I remember them snickering about subprime customers and heaping derision upon subprime auto lenders. They were the “Mouse House,” the lenders of last resort. Get it?

I hope subprime customers are finally getting some respect.

Today, it seems we all have a few blemishes on our credit score; no full-line automaker can prosper without reliable access to decent subprime credit. That's the lesson of GM's move to buy AmeriCredit.

For years, automakers and auto lenders have played in and out of the subprime marketplace.

They can never stay out for long.