Auto Loans

Average Car Payment | Loan Statistics 2020

With the average car payment up to $550 for new vehicles, Americans are taking on auto loans in record-setting amounts and for longer stretches. To get the full picture of auto loan debt and trends in the U.S., we looked at auto loan originations, prices, term lengths and delinquencies, among other aspects of auto debt in the USA. Here are the numbers.

Key facts about auto loans

  • The average monthly car payment in the U.S. is $550 for new vehicles, $393 for used and $452 for leased.
  • Overall, Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion in auto loan debt.
  • Auto debt makes up 9.5% of American consumer debt.
  • On average, Americans take out about $51 billion in 2.3 million new auto loans each month.
  • Americans borrow an average $32,480 for new vehicles and $20,446 for used.
  • The average loan term is 69 months for new cars, 35 months for used and 37 months for leased vehicles.
  • 4.5% of outstanding auto debt is at least 90 days late and another 7% is 30 days overdue.
  • The average auto loan APR was 8.06% in 2019, but ranged from an average of 5.66% for borrowers with the strongest credit to 21.54% for borrowers with poor credit.
  • People with 720+ credit scores originate more auto loan debt than the rest of the credit tiers combined: $27 million vs $23.3 million.
  • Americans younger than 45 take out $38.1 million in auto debt, compared with the $13.3 million auto debt of older generations.
  • Gen Xers are the most likely to have a car loan, and carry the highest auto loan balances with a median of $19,313.
  • The average price of a new, light-duty vehicle is $38,948, a 1.7% increase over the same period a year prior in December 2018. Average used car prices are nearly half — $20,683 as of Q3 2019.

Sources: LendingTree, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, Experian, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Table of contents

Average monthly car payments

The average monthly payment for a new car is $550, while lease payments are an average $452. Used cars have the lowest average monthly payments at $393.

In general, the worse your credit, the higher your monthly car payment. But not always — those with fair credit, credit scores between 601 and 660, saw the highest average monthly payments for new vehicles at $578.

How much Americans owe for auto loans

In short: a lot. Overall vehicle debt has increased by 41% between 2010 when Americans owed $698 billion to today’s peak of $1.2 trillion. The only exception to the upward trend was a 2.8% dip at the end of 2015, before debts began climbing again.

Auto loans as a percentage of American consumer debt

While home mortgages take the lion share of American consumer debt, auto loans account for 9.5%, just below student loan debt.

Number of monthly auto loan originations

Peak times for people to take out auto loans are March, May and August. In March 2005, Americans took out 2 million auto loans; in March 2019, 2.5 million.

Monthly volume of auto loan originations

The average amount of money Americans take out in auto loans each month increased 162% since its lowest point in the Great Recession.

Average auto loan amounts

The average auto loan amount across new and used cars has steadily increased over the past decade, reaching a record average of $23,678 in December 2018. Borrowers tend to take out bigger loans in December, even though other months may see more originations.

The average loan amount for new cars is $32,480 and $20,446 for used vehicles. New car buyers in the middle credit tier (601-660) have the largest loans, $34,245 on average. When it comes to used cars, the higher the credit score (781-850), the more a person borrows, an average $32,480.

Average loan terms

The average auto loan term for new vehicles is 69.3 months, or nearly six years. Used car loan amounts, despite being significantly smaller on average, are close behind at 64.9 months. But auto loans are stretching even longer — topping six years — for middle-tier credit borrowers, who take out an average loan of 75.2 months. Top-credit score borrowers have the lowest average loan terms at 63.6 months. The average new car lease term is 36.5 months, or about three years.

Delinquency rates for auto loans

Delinquency rates for auto loans peaked around 2008, with 30-day delinquencies spiking to near 10.9% in Q2 2009, but have stayed below 8% since 2011.

Interest rates by credit score

The average auto loan rate obtained by people using the LendingTree platform in Q4 2019 was 8.06% APR, but can be much higher, depending on your credit score. For those with the lowest credit scores, average rates reached 21.54%.

Auto loan originations by credit score

Those with the best credit scores borrow the most. In April 2019, borrowers with credit scores of at least 720 took out $27 million in auto loan debt. The remaining credit tiers accounted for $23.3 million combined.

The median credit credit score of auto loan borrowers at the time they originated a loan has been above 650 since 2004.

Auto loan originations by borrower age

Younger Americans take on the greatest amount of auto loan debt. In April 2019, borrowers under the age of 30 took out $17 million, with 30-44 year olds borrowing another $21 million. Age groups 45-64 and 65+ were responsible for $6.7 million and $6.6 million respectively.

Auto loan balance by generations and age groups

Americans ages 45 to 54 have the largest auto loan balances. In December 2019, they had an average balance of $19,335. Runners-up? 35- to 44-year-olds with an average balance of $18,738.

  • Gen Xers are the most likely to have auto debt and also carry the largest loans. At $19,313, the median auto loan balance of Gen Xers is 13% more than the next largest median balance.
  • The Silent Generation has the lowest amount of auto debt, even with 39% of its cohort having an auto loan balance — their median loan balance is $13,437.
  • Millennials are slightly more likely to have auto loan balances than baby boomers, but Boomers owe more: a median $17,097 compared with $16,679.

Change in the amount of auto loan applicants and rejections

Between 2009 and 2019, the number of auto loan applications increased 144%. Auto loan rejections were on a steep downward trend from 2009 to 2015 even as the rate of auto loan inquiries increased. Since May 2015, however, rejection rates have risen 7.7%.

Types of lenders financing auto loans

Banks narrowly claim the crown, at 35.9% of total (new and used) auto loans. But captive dealer financing clearly is the winner when it comes to new car sales — captive finance companies handle 53.8% of those deals, compared to banks’ 29.4% share. “Buy here pay here” businesses, often known for predatory lending practices, are most prevalent in used car financing, at 2.6%.

 

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