If you have great credit, you're in the driver's seat right now -- as automobile dealerships scramble to clear lots of excess inventory. Still, according to the New York Times, your good credit won't clinch the deal. It'll just get you to the bargaining table. Customers should expect to put about $3,100 down, up from $2,500 just a year ago. What's more, the best deals are going to customers who have FICO scores of 786 or higher. Yikes. A year ago, the best terms could be had with a FICO score of 741.
From the New York Times story:
But unless you pay in full with cash, you may find that the game has changed. Many lenders are tightening their standards, and as a result, customers with a so-so credit history will pay more for a loan, while those with poor ratings will find themselves shut out. Loan lengths are getting shorter and amounts are getting smaller; even the best customers may be required to make a larger down payment.
If you are unsure of your credit situation, don’t bother to visit showrooms, said Tom Quinn, vice president at the scoring division of Fair Isaac, the company that developed the widely used credit scoring system known as FICO. Obtain a credit report first and learn your FICO score, he said. People with scores of 700 and above are considered prime customers.
The rest of the story can be read here (link).