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Access to New-Car Loans Improves to Near Pre-Pandemic Levels

Finding a car may be harder than in recent memory, but shoppers who do line up a new vehicle are more likely to qualify for a loan.

Cox Automotive found access to loans last month was 5.5% easier than during the same period a year earlier. Generally speaking, credit access from banks, credit unions, and captive finance arms at automakers is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.

However, only automakers have loosened up loans to the level where consumers are just as likely to qualify in October 2021 as they were in February 2020 before the pandemic took hold of the global economy.

That doesn’t mean car dealers are flush with vehicles, however. Inventory levels remain at historic lows with little change in sight as automakers struggle to source parts needed to assemble new vehicles. Supply chain bottlenecks, compounded by the global labor and computer chip shortage, make new cars challenging to locate.

Similarly, discounts on new vehicles — as well as incentive and rebate spending from automakers — are few and far between. Some automakers are now offering unusual spiffs, such as credit for accessory items, in place of rebates. See new car models for sale

Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz is an author specializing in helping in-market consumers get the most bang for their buck -- and the best car, while they're at it. When not virtually shopping for new and used cars, Andrew can probably be found under the hood of a vintage classic that's rapidly losing fluids.

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