Here's a look at the state of auto rates from Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large banks and thrifts conducted Jan. 13, 2010.
Auto loansRates: 6.86 percent (60-month, new car); 7.71 percent (36-month, used car)
Auto loan rates in our survey were up this week, but most of the volatility can be attributed not to banks raising their rates, but to annual changes in the list we survey. Each week we survey the top 10 institutions, by asset size, in each of the top 25 markets to determine our rate averages. This week, banks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Houston were shuffled out of the survey and new ones were shuffled in, resulting in the appearance of a rate increase, even though most banks kept their rates the same.
"Adjusting for the institution changes this week, new car rates would have been essentially unchanged, maybe down 1 basis point," says Bankrate's senior financial analyst Greg McBride. In the survey, the average 48-month, new-car loan was up 26 basis points to 6.88 percent. The average rate on a 60-month, new-car loan was also up 26 basis points, to 6.86 percent. Our used-car averages were also up; the average rate for a 36-month, used-car loan also rose 26 basis point(s), to 7.71 percent. "Used cars would still have increased but only a couple basis points," says McBride.
GM is taking steps to wind down production of its Hummer and Saab brands this week, according to a report by The Detroit News. Production of Hummer vehicles at GM's Louisiana plant will cease Monday, contingent upon a final deal to sell the company to Chinese manufacturer Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Ltd. Also this week, GM announced the creation of a management team to oversee the orderly shutdown of Saab. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said the company would still entertain offers to buy the Swedish carmaker, but that none so far had been sufficient to halt the winding down of the brand.
To find updated auto rates in your area, visit Bankrate's auto rate table.
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-- Claes Bell