The survey found that negative equity is less of a problem for customers of luxury brands, perhaps because those brands typically have a higher lease penetration rate. Of the 6,872 luxury-brand respondents who bought or leased a vehicle and had a trade-in, just 30 percent had negative equity. Of those, 49 percent rolled it over, while 20 percent increased their down payment and 25 percent took some other action. But again, 6 percent had to choose another vehicle.
Nissan-brand buyers with a trade-in had the most frequent experiences of negative equity in the survey, at 47 percent. Of those, 51 percent rolled it over, while 18 percent increased their down payment.
By contrast, 38 percent of Volkswagen buyers and 33 percent of Buick-GMC buyers — again, for those with a trade-in — were upside-down on their trade. But in both cases, 62 percent rolled it over into their next loan. Among the Buick-GMC buyers, 16 percent coughed up a larger down payment, vs. 13 percent of VW purchasers.
Subaru stood out with the smallest percentage of its buyers saying they were upside down on their trade-in: 27 percent.
Of those, 49 percent rolled it over and 26 percent put more money down.
And just 4 percent said they had to choose a different vehicle than the one they had planned to get.
Toyota brand purchasers were below the industry average not only in the percentage they were upside down, at 35 percent vs. the industry's 37 percent, but also in how many of those rolled the debt over, at 51 percent vs. the industry's 54 percent.
But Toyota dealerships stood out for how often they convinced those with negative equity to consider a different vehicle.
Of those with negative equity, 8 percent of Toyota buyers drove off in something other than what they had expected to get, the highest percentage of any brand.