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Seven-Year Finance Terms Hurt Car Shoppers

April 1, 2008

MIAMI — Popular car manufacturers and dealers are now offering 84-month financing on some auto loans. With the current consumer credit situation, this loan program can place anyone into a severe negative equity position for a long time.

Consumers that agree to these terms will pay for their car for seven years. Similar to the problems plaguing the current housing situation, these loans could damage both consumers and banks that participate in the lending. At 84-month terms, a $20,000 car will cost an additional $5,335 in interest alone — roughly a quarter of the entire car’s price.

“In today’s economy, people are finding it harder to project their financial situation over a longer period of time,” said Sergio Stiberman, CEO and founder of LeaseTrader.com. “It’s much easier to calculate and project your financial situation for the next couple of years than an 84-month period. And with all the uncertainty in today’s economy, it’s very unsettling to assume your financial picture six or seven years from today.”

LeaseTrader.com helps people take over short-term car leases by matching them with another individual wanting out of their existing car lease. “You’re picking up where the last person left off,” added Stiberman. “So if person A only drives their car lease for two of the three-year lease contract, you’re only picking up the remaining year of the lease.”

Vehicle leases on LeaseTrader.com typically average between 10-18 months remaining. In addition to the significantly shorter financial commitment, car shoppers don’t have to pay a down payment on the car when they take over a lease.

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