Honda US Sales Chief Fears “Stupid” Auto Loans Vicious Cycle

Honda US Sales Chief Fears “Stupid” Auto Loans Vicious Cycle

Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/20/2015 15:22 -0500
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-20/honda-us-sales-chief-fears-stupid-auto-loans-vicious-cycle

Extended-term loans are “stupid not just for us, but for the industry,” exclaimed Honda’s US sales chief John Mendel, adding that competitors are doing “stupid thing” to boost auto sales. With delinquency rates surging, it appears he is right to worry, as Bloomberg reports, more than one in four new-car loans in October and November had terms of 73 to 84 months long (more than double that of the previous 08 peak). Honda has said it will avoid longer-term loans even if competitors do note as one economist ranted, “we’ve seen this movie before, we know how it ends, and it’s not pretty.”

As Bloomberg reports,

A top U.S. executive at Honda said competitors are doing “stupid things” to boost auto sales, including making seven-year-long car loans that harm buyers.

Automakers are increasingly selling vehicles with 84-month loans that reduce monthly payments while making it tougher to repay faster than cars lose value, John Mendel, Honda’s U.S. sales chief, said in an interview. The Tokyo-based company will avoid longer-term loans even as Nissan tries to supplant it as the fifth-biggest automaker in the U.S., he said.

“You’re ringing the bell on a new-car sale, but that customer is saddled — they’re stretched so thin,” Mendel said at the North American International Auto Show last week. Extended-term loans are “stupid not just for us, but for the industry.”

“We’ve seen this movie before, we know how it ends, and it’s not pretty,” Webb told reporters at an event before last week’s show. “But I say that it has longer to run, and we have already paid the price of admission. So we might as well stay to the end. You just keep your eyes on the exit door.”

More than one in four new-car loans in October and November were 73 to 84 months long, according to Experian Plc. The share of new-car loans at those term lengths was less then 10 percent in 2009 and 2010.

“It can have some negative impact on the market in creating a vicious cycle of negative equity if the consumer doesn’t hold onto their vehicle long enough,” Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive finance for Experian, said by phone. “Something has to be done to keep the market affordable, or consumer buying is going to have to change and we’ll have to return to less frequent purchases.”

* * *

Auto loan delinquency rates are surging to levels not seen since 2008 and stunningly, more than 8.4% of borrowers with weak credit scores who took out loans in the first quarter of 2014 had missed payments by November. As even glass-half-full-status-quo-hugger Mark Zandi is forced to admit, “It’s clear that credit quality is eroding now, and pretty quickly.”

Leave a Reply