New-vehicle loan terms reached an all-time high of 69 months as the 61- to 72-month loan segment has become the new norm, Zabritski said. Loans originated with a 61- to 72-month term accounted for 43.2 percent of the market. Loans of 73-84 months made up 30.5 percent.
"We have kind of hit a threshold there. It's lower than it's been the last couple quarters on the new-vehicle side," Zabritski said. "We continue to see loans shift from that 60 months to 61-72, and that's where we're seeing a lot of the growth."
The average used-vehicle loan term increased to 64 months, from 63 months a year earlier.
Despite the loan term extensions, the average monthly payment increased $6 for both new- and used-vehicle loans. New-vehicle loan payments hit $502 per month, and used-vehicle payments rose to $412.
"You've got the loan term stretching, but you also have the loan amounts growing as well as the interest rates are beginning to rise," Zabritski said.
The balance for all open auto loans and leases jumped 6.8 percent from a year earlier to $1.121 trillion, while the average loan amount for third-quarter new-vehicle originations grew to $30,329, up 1 percent. For used-vehicle originations, the average loan amount was relatively flat at $19,291.
The average interest rate on a new-vehicle loan climbed 39 basis points to 5.1 percent. On used-vehicle loans, the average interest rate grew 22 basis points to 8.72 percent.
"So despite those loan terms extending, the compounding factors of higher loan amounts and increased rates are contributing to have that monthly payment increase," Zabritski said.