People Are Borrowing Record Amounts To Buy A Damn Car

Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Americans owe more than $1 trillion in car loans, and we’re borrowing record-setting amounts to buy a car. That’s according to a new report from Experian Automotive, which tracks car loans across the U.S.

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The reason, reports CNBC, is a combination of higher prices for new cars and relatively low rates for auto loans. The average amount borrowed grew to above $27,000 last quarter, a first.

Here’s more from CNBC:

“It’s not surprising buyers are borrowing more,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive credit. “If you look at the most popular segments, they are full-size pickups and SUVs. It’s hard to find one of those models new and fully loaded for under $30,000.”

According to Experian, the average auto loan in fourth quarter 2013 was $27,430—an increase of $739 compared with the same period of 2012. The average used car loan was $345 higher, coming in at $17,974.

What’s concerning is that, even though prices are at record highs, Americans are also accepting longer terms. Experian found that a record 20 percent of all new car loans in the last quarter came with 72 month terms. (There are plenty of reasons why this could be an issue.)

Lower car sales are expected this year because of the Federal Reserve’s likely move to raise interest rates. Even still, by taking out record amounts for a vehicle, we’re almost certainly going to keep increasing that $1 trillion pot of collective car loan debt. Wahoo.

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About the author

Ryan Felton

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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