Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place at 9:00 AM every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Longer Loans
Longer loans have been a trend for a while in car buying, but the averages are getting longer and longer. In the first few months of 2015, the average term of car loans reached 67 months for new cars, 62 months for used cars.
A longer loan term does allow for a lower monthly payment, but the length of the commitment is cause for concern. There are certain buyers who might not have the financial stability to pay off that loan over such long period. Or, when they sell the car, it won’t cover the remainder of the loan and they’ll be stuck paying off a car that they no longer have. There haven’t actually been the same sub-prime worries that we previously had, but it should be at the very back of some minds as these loans are issued.
2nd Gear: NHTSA Done Screwed Up
Its not just GM that can get their own recalls wrong.
In a report issued by the Department of Transportation, it has been found that NHTSA also had a number of mistakes that allowed the defective cars to continue on the roads for years. Also, don’t worry, they blame GM heavily in the report too. Phew.
NHTSA says that the faults in in the GM case have made them approach the way they interact with automakers differently. It also resulted in a record number of recalls last year and a new urgency placed on keep automakers accountable, like the way that FCA’s Jeep fire case is being handled.
3rd Gear: China Chooses Stocks
There may be a good reason for why Chinese car sales are dropping: People want to save money and buy something they want. Novel idea.
China’s stock market actually doubled in the last year, so it’s on quite a roll of new investment. And some of that investment is coming from people who might have enough money for a Buick but, as Bloomberg notes, want to have an Audi.
People want the stocks now and then the nice cars later. I like the cut of their jib.
4th Gear: A New Hyundai SUV?
Hyundai might be a rather strong automaker, but there is a place where they are lagging. That’s the SUV game. But it seems that they also realize that and there might be a solution coming.
Reuters reports that Hyundai is looking in to a larger SUV based on the excellent platform that is underneath the Genesis. It’s a good step, but it would take a few years to come to market. Hyundai could also use a full size SUV and a pick up truck, but let’s take baby steps here.
5th Gear: Fewer Leafs
The Nissan Leaf has suffered falling sales in the wake of lower gas prices. And now Nissan expects that those sales will fall further.
And that’s because the Leaf’s biggest market, Atlanta, GA will soon see its $5,000 tax break for EVs end. In fact, the incentive goes away on July 1st. Dealers expect their sales of 100 Leafs a month will plummet. Nissan will need to figure out a workaround.
Will the longer loans now mean for big problems later?
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