The big news this week is the Federal Reserve's whopping 75-point rate cut. So is it time yet to refinance your car? Or start shopping for that new set of wheels? Maybe not quite yet. The effect of the interest rate cut may take time to show up in the auto loans market, says John A. Casesa, managing partner, Casesa Shapiro Group, an auto industry adviser.
But it's likely to happen. Captive finance companies of the auto manufacturers will be aggressive in their finance terms to avoid inventory pile-up in the face of an economic slowdown, says Casesa, and others are likely to follow suit as the cost of lending gets cheaper.
The big question on everyone's mind: Will those with less than stellar credit be able to get credit, or will car loans go the way of the mortgage market? "So far there's been surprisingly little spillover from the subprime crisis in auto lending," says Casesa, adding that, though there's been no wholesale change in strategy, on the margins, the auto manufacturers' finance companies seem to have become slightly more restrictive in their lending practices. "I think we share the concern of others that in the auto business the worst is yet to come."
But for those raring for better rates for their ride, we checked today's online advertised rates. All rates assume excellent credit history, may not be available in every geographical region, may be subject to other conditions and fees, may include special discounts, and may vary depending on the car and down payment. Rates aren't directly comparable, because they may make different assumptions, but here's what we found. For more rates, go to manybanking.com..
Bank of America (BAC) is offering APRs on refinanced vehicles as low as 6.69% in Florida, New York and Illinois, and 6.79% in California and Texas for up to 60 months. Rates on new cars in those states are even lower, with the best rates ranging from 5.49% to 5.89%.
HSBC's (HBC) auto-refinancing loans are as low as 7.20%, and new-vehicle purchase loans are as low as 6.35 percent for loans from 37 to 60 months.
Chase (JPM) refinancing APRs are running as low as 6.59% for new vehicles and 7.04% for used vehicles in California, Florida and Illinois. And Chase customers may be eligible for an additional discount: Rates may be as low as 6.09% for customers who select automatic payment from a Chase account and hold Chase Premier Checking or Chase Premier Platinum Checking. Rates assume a loan-to-value ratio of 90%.
- In California and Texas, Wells Fargo (WFC) charges APRs as low as 7.84% to refinance a 48-month $15,000 loan. In Illinois, the rates run slightly higher, at 8.39%. Rates include a 0.25% discount for automatic payments from a Wells Fargo checking or savings account.
Capital One (COF) Auto Finance is offering refinancing APRs as low as 7.20% for 30- to 60-month loans. APRs of new-car loans for 37 to 60 months are as low as 6.35%.
PNC (PNC) is offering Washington, D.C., residents auto loans as low as 7.74% on amounts of $15,000 or more for less than 60 months.
- A 60-month auto refinance at E-Loan (EELN) is as low as 7.30%. APRs on new vehicles for 37 to 60 months run as low as 6.35%.