"For the First Time in Nearly a Decade, Dealers Are Telling Large Numbers of Buyers That They Can't Afford the Cars They Want"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Yes folks, despite the drastic downturn in new car sales, the so-called credit crisis is now so bad that new car dealers are being forced to not to drown their customers in debt. The Cleveland Plain Dealer (of all things) reports this new, un-American disconnect between what people can afford and what they can buy. "People with decent credit aren't able to get the terms they think they should get," said Michelle Primm, managing partner of the Cascade Auto Group in Cuyahoga Falls and a special director of the National Automobile Dealers Association. Which raises an important question: was Elvis a NADA special director? Did he get a badge? Anyway, some dealers are welcoming this new sense of realism– now. "'When you have dealers that say they can get anybody a loan, they're selling financing,' said Pat O'Brien, owner of Chevrolet dealerships in Medina, Willoughby and Westlake. 'They're not selling the car.' He added that loan terms offered to people with poor credit were often so bad that they would have been better off not buying.'" Who knew?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • SloStang SloStang on Apr 16, 2008

    I think it's a bit extreme to say you should always pay cash for a car. Having a job usually requires that you have an education, a place to live, and a way of getting to work. All that takes money which you won't have until you've worked for a while. So you sorta have to go into debt to get started in life. But, if you live within your means, your job will allow you to pay down your debt over time. The problems begin when debt is used to prop up an unsustainable lifestyle. Either get a better job or learn to live with less. Be creative about it if you have to.

  • Threeer Threeer on Apr 16, 2008

    SloStang, other than your house payment, there is no NEED for anybody to be in debt. Period. It's a choice people make. I listen to Dave Ramsey every day, but without the personal will power to follow the basic (and common sense advice...nothing new in what he's saying) tenets he discusses, all the education in the world wouldn't mean a thing. Nobody...nobody, NEEDS a new car. They WANT a new car. I watched my folks (just one generation back, I don't even need to go back to my grandparent's time) save to buy each car they bought. The first new car was in 1981 when I sat at the kitchen table and counted the $8000 they spent on a new Corolla. Could my dad have used that as a downpayment on something much nicer? Sure...but he didn't! The car was paid for in cash and driven for ten solid years. When they moved around (first the military, then civil service), if they needed a second car, they first shared the one car they had until he had $2000 or so saved, then he bought a used car and drove it until the wheels fell off. My mom's last new car is a 2003 Corolla. When she went to the dealership to look at it, she ordered it fully loaded. When the dealer asked how she wanted to finance it, she politely told him she didn't. Stroked a check right then and there for the full amount. The dealer almost passed out! Now, had she not had the $19,000, she would have bought whatever she did have the cash for. I deeply desire a new(er) Jeep Wrangler, but refuse to be a sucker to the banks and finance companies. So, no Wrangler for me later this year but more than likely a $3000 run around car. Saying one needs to go into debt to start is a cop-out. There are numerous ways to avoid that, but 9 out of 10 people here in America would rather make the choice to go into debt now because they want something immediately, as opposed to following a (here comes the dreaded word) PLAN and working up towards buying in cash. Living under one's means is a foreign concept here...

  • Brapoza Brapoza on Apr 16, 2008

    Am I wrong here? What's America and capitalism all about if not consumption.

  • Blowfish Blowfish on Apr 16, 2008

    USA is also is deep debt, one day all the lenders could start no more money to lend too. To borrow is not a bad thing if u borrow what u needed, but when u make 100 tries to borrow many times then u in deep trouble, any sign of cash flow slowing down u get nothing but aggravations. America = conspicuous consumption. Is fine when we have fine times, when the music stops everybody tries to find a place to park their as*** but not everybody so looky though.