Higher payments for new vehicles are likely the cause, despite a relatively strong new-vehicle sales climate, said Melinda Zabritski, Experian's senior director of automotive financial solutions."Despite more prime consumers going into used financing, we're still at a nice solid SAAR figure, so it doesn't appear to be hindering new-car sales," Zabritski said, largely because of leasing levels remaining around 30 percent.
The average loan for used vehicles in the first quarter was $20,137, up $601 from a year earlier, according to the report, with an average monthly payment of $391, up $19. Comparatively, the average loan amount for new vehicles rose $733 to $32,187, and the average monthly payment was $554, up $31. The average payment for a new-vehicle lease rose $21 to $457.
From the dealer standpoint, Zabritski said there are pros and cons to more prime consumers buying used vehicles. While prime and superprime customers often obtain financing more easily, dealers have to be more competitive with their financing deals to gain their business. The wide availability of financing options open to higher credit-tiered customers gives them more leverage to walk away from a deal.