Zero-Percent Car Loans Are Back for the Holidays

The deals include Chevy Silverados
Photo: Charles Krupa (AP)

Auto industry types theorized several months back that zero percent financing was going to go by the wayside, thanks to rising interest rates and because it’s just more expensive to offer it nowadays. That’ll change for the holiday season, reports Bloomberg, at least temporarily.

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General Motors, Ford and Nissan are all offering no-interest loans this month for up to 72 months—a very long time, to be sure, but altogether the norm these days—on several vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado, the Ford F-150, and the Nissan Rogue, according to Bloomberg.

It’s likely an attempt to keep sales from dipping before 2018 closes out, the news outlet says, but the wave of deals wasn’t exactly expected:

The zero-percent deals are surprising since it’s become more expensive to offer cut-rating financing as the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates. The share of U.S. vehicle sales financed with zero-percent loans shrank to just 3.8 percent in October, the lowest in more than 11 years, according to market researcher Edmunds.

“It’s getting too costly for the automakers, and it just pushes the cost onto the consumer,” said Ivan Drury, a senior analyst at Edmunds. “Zero percent is exiting the market.”

GM, for one thing, seems fairly stoked about it. Besides the Silverado, it’s also offering zero percent for 72 months on the Equinox and Tahoe SUVs, Bloomberg Reports, with other Chevy models being offered for zero percent for 36 months.

As I’ve labored to underscore in the past, the longer the auto loan terms, the likelier the chances increase for a buyer to default. Jim Cain, a GM spokesperson, didn’t apparently take that into consideration, when he told Bloomberg about the automaker’s deals that:

“The reports of the death of zero percent were exaggerated,” Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, said by phone. “We said all along it was an important part of our tool kit. Zero percent has proven to be a good motivator.”

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Yeah, baby, gotta motivate those buyers to take on a six-year auto loan for a product that rapidly depreciates from the moment it leaves the car lot.

Anyway, Ford has a similar 72 month deal for a F-150, and Nissan’s offering the slightly more reasonable terms of 60 months at zero percent for the Altima, Maxima, Rogue, Murano and the Titan pickup.

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What’ll likely happen is that deals like this stop at the end of the year, so if you’re itching to get a no-interest loan, now’s your chance. But, please, please, don’t take on too much car just because it’s the holidays.

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Ryan Felton

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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