Category Archives: Financing

Good News! Cars Are a Wee Bit Cheaper This Year

Everybody knows that the price in the commercial or on the MSRP sticker isn’t often the price you’ll actually pay for a car. After all the hemming, hawing, and haggling, you’ll likely pay a bit less than the official price, especially if the manufacturer has incentives involved, like $1000 cash back.

Happily, the people at TrueCar track these things for us. They look at the average transaction prices of new vehicles — the final price that people are actually paying — and look at how it compares to previous years and months. The good news right now is that passenger vehicles industry wide are half a percent between November 2012 and November 2013. According to TrueCar’s research, consumers paid $30,832 on average for a new car in November 2012 and $30,634 in November 2013. It’s only a couple hundred bucks, but for me, that’s three trips including tip to Maggie, who makes my hair pretty.

Manufacturers are also offering buyers more money as incentives — but only 0.7% more over last year. November 2012 saw an average of $2,490 being handed out for new-car incentives, while in November 2013 $2,507. That not-quite-twenty bucks isn’t going to make a huge difference in my life if I’m buying a $30,000 car. But that’s an industry average; the car you’re interested in might come in on the high end of the incentive scale. Ford and GM, as of last month, were averaging more than $3,000 in incentives, for example.

Toyota Financial CEO Borst Gives Women a Career Boost

In his 16 years as president and CEO of Toyota Financial Services, George Borst created the most diverse management team in TFS history, gender-wise. For this achievement, he received the Outstanding CEO award from Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute. Borst retired in September 2013, but he’s still serving as an executive adviser for TFS.

Borst didn’t just hire women; he encouraged them to network and mentor one another, which is an important factor in women’s advancement. He was an advocate for Toyota’s resource group for its female employees, TORQUE (I do not know what that stands for, but I’d love to). Its annual conference of women from North American Toyota affiliates grew to 200 participants, nearly doubling its attendance in three years.

GM Wants You to “Shop, Click, Drive”

It turns out this Intertubes thing is pretty popular, and GM wants a piece of the online action. Rather than using a third-party online shopping tool like Edmunds.com or TrueCar.com or any of the other sites out there to find your new Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, or GMC vehicle, you can use the “Shop-Click-Drive” process on any GM dealership’s website.

The idea is to streamline the process. Visit the website of any of GM’s 4300 US dealerships anytime, day or night, because the Internet never sleeps, and you’ll find the same system. According to a press release, car shoppers can:

  • Choose a specific vehicle
  • Get a price estimate
  • See if there are any incentives available from the manufacturer
  • Check out financing and insurance options
  • Find out about trading in their vehicle
  • Apply for financing

It doesn’t seem like any of this is guaranteed; you only get price estimates for the new car and information about a trade-in, not any kind of price promise or guaranteed minimum value for your trade-in. But it will arm you with information before you step into the dealership, which is always helpful.

Remember, know what you want and what you can afford before you step onto the showroom floor, even if you did Shop-Click-Drive. And don’t take any shit once you’re there.

Get By with a Little Help from Your Automotive Friends

So things were already a little sucky for anyone who isn’t a San Francisco hipster with an IPO pending, and now that the government has shut down, it’s gotten a lot more sucky for a lot of federal employees and the people who depend on them.

When everyone seems intent on screwing us over, where can we turn? Well, in one case, it may be the folks who take your car payments every month. Toyota and Nissan have both recently announced that they’ll be offering some breathing room to their buyers.

Anyone who financed their vehicle through Toyota Financial Services or Lexus Financial services and is affected by the shutdown (furloughed employees, government contractors, and more) can defer up to three months of payments. Prior to the shutdown, your loan had to be in good standing, but I’m sure it was. You’re good people.

Nissan’s program has been around, but in these shutdown days, they thought a reminder might be in order. Any Nissan or Infiniti owner who used Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. to finance their vehicle can also get up to a 90-day extension on their loan.

If you’re finding yourself on an unpaid, unplanned, uncertain vacation thanks to the US government, it might be worth checking into these programs. Best of luck.