Bob Serpentini, whose Serpentini Auto Group sells Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Nissan vehicles at nine dealerships in northeastern Ohio, said he has seen loan rates drop about half a percentage point over the last year or so.Serpentini, the group's president, said subprime loans make up about 20 percent of his business, and he's seeing lower rates for those customers, too. Subprime lenders are "behaving responsibly" and "still buying subprime paper," he said.
"No matter, with all things being equal, the rates are still lower than they were a year ago. Even if [the borrower] has negative equity and they don't put as much money down, the rates are still down," said Serpentini, who expects to sell about 10,000 new and 10,000 used vehicles this year.
"If you borrowed money at 8 percent a year ago because that's where you fell on the credit spectrum, well, maybe now you can borrow at 7.5 percent. The rates are coming down for everyone, not just a few."
But by some measurements, rates are still elevated. Auto loan rates were higher in the third quarter of 2019 than in the third quarter of 2018, according to Experian's most recent "State of the Automotive Finance Market" quarterly report, released in December.