Consumer voices on automobile financing
The automobile financing market makes up a significant share of the market for consumer financial products and services in America. Specifically, automobile lending is the third largest category of household debt for American consumers, behind mortgages and student loans, with almost 100 million auto loans totaling just over $1 trillion outstanding. For consumers who do not purchase a home, an automobile may be the largest purchase they will ever make. Taking out a loan to purchase an automobile can be a significant part of consumers’ financial lives. The decision to obtain auto financing includes many factors, including the source of financing, features of the loan, and issues related to down payment, trade-in, and add-ons.Because automobile loans are part of the financial lives of so many consumers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) engaged in research about how consumers approach the auto financing decision, and what challenges they face in navigating the process.