Prices are going up, but what if you could reduce your monthly installment?
In a relatively short period of time, the average time an American keeps their car has increased from roughly seven years to 12 years.
As a result, financing services have responded with new products to cater to this phenomenon. It's easy enough to get an 84-month/seven-year deal at most manufacturers' in-house financing departments, but Honda stuck firmly to more pragmatic deals, like the Ridgeline deal from 2021. The maximum term available from Honda was 72 months.
The automotive industry is getting more competitive by the day, and Honda is now finally offering financing deals from 73 to 84 months. According to Honda, this move is the direct result of feedback from dealerships.
Consumers are obviously under pressure and want monthly repayments to be as little as possible. Honda tried a few tactics in 2021 to move product, but neither the rebates nor zero-percent financing deals seemed to work. And in the current climate, you can't expect any kind of discount anymore.
It's also worth keeping in mind that car prices are at an all-time high due to the ongoing chip shortage. Spreading the increased cost over a longer period of time makes more sense if you make peace with the fact that you're going to be keeping the car for an extended time.
Things aren't as clear-cut as they appear to be, however.
Cars Direct did some digging into Honda's new 84-month deal and found some interesting details. You know, the part of the TV ad where the guys talks extremely fast and you can only make out the "terms and conditions apply" at the end of the sentence.
Cars Direct found that the 84-month deal is only available via Honda's Standard New Retail Programs. The standard rates tied to these programs are not close to the advertised rates as advertised. Essentially, Honda seems to have used the best possible customer as an example. As in a 50-year-old male with no serious medical conditions, the best possible credit score, and a million in the bank.
The interest rates depend on region and credit score. A person with a perfect credit score residing in Washington can expect 5.04 percent interest, with the dealer possibly adding a one percent markup.
With a worse credit score, you can expect a rate of 7.85 percent or 8.85 percent with the dealer markup. Though the monthly payment will be low, the longer payment period means you'll pay $40,000 for a $30,000 Honda Accord.
To be fair, Honda is not the only manufacturer guilty of this. The lesson here is to look at the payment plan properly all the way to the end, and not to get caught up in the monthly payment.