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New-car loans now easier to get than new cars

October 29, 2021
Finding a car may be harder than in recent memory, but shoppers who do line up a new vehicle are more likely to qualify for a loan.
Researchers found access to loans in September was 5.5% easier than during the same period a year earlier. Generally speaking, credit access from banks, credit unions, and captive finance arms at automakers is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.
However, only automakers have loosened up loans to the level where consumers were just as likely to qualify in October 2021 as they were in February 2020, before the pandemic took hold of the global economy.
That doesn’t mean car dealers are flush with vehicles, however. Inventory levels remain at historic lows with little change in sight as automakers struggle to source parts needed to assemble new vehicles. Supply chain bottlenecks, compounded by the global labor and computer chip shortage, make new cars challenging to locate.
Similarly, discounts on new vehicles — as well as incentive and rebate spending from automakers — are few and far between. Some automakers are now offering unusual spiffs, such as credit for accessory items, in place of rebates.