Cars are getting more and more expensive, especially with EVs on the horizon. As of January of this year, the average price of a new car was heading towards $50,000. But automakers and their respective finance companies want you to know they’re here for you. They’re going to do whatever they can to make sure that monthly payment looks attractive and affordable, and that’s why they’ve been pushing loan terms farther out. Honda is the latest automaker to jump on the long-term wagon, as Cars Direct reports that the company is now offering 84-month loans.
“But wait,” you may say. “Didn’t Honda say those kinds of loans weren’t good?” You’re right, dear reader. Back in 2015, speaking to Bloomberg at the North American International Auto Show, Honda’s U.S. sales chief John Mendel said that Honda wouldn’t be getting in on 84-month loan terms, saying, “You’re ringing the bell on a new-car sale, but that customer is saddled — they’re stretched so thin.” He then called the long terms “stupid not just for us, but for the industry.”
Ironically, 84 months later, the company is now offering the very thing it said it wouldn’t do. Previously, the longest term you could do with Honda was just 72 months. But the company says the 84-month terms will be offered after feedback from dealers.
While that 84-month term may make that payment on an Si look appealing, it’s not a good idea in the long run. For one, the vehicle will lose value faster than you can repay the loan, and the long term means a person will be paying more interest, especially if a buyer doesn’t have a Tier 1 (scores of 700 or above) credit score.
The worst credit Honda will finance for 84 months is so-called Tier 8, or a credit score of 660 to 669. However, with a rate of 7.85% APR, or 8.85% with dealer markup, a $30,000 car could cost well over $40,000. Although longer loans can be a tool to score lower monthly payments, the total cost can be easy to overlook.
And yes, you read that right, dealers can markup a percentage rate on a loan. Looks like it won’t be long until 96-month terms are the industry norm.