CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Car buyers who live in cities with the longest average commutes from home to work tend to borrow the most when financing a new-vehicle purchase, according to a new report from LendingTree. Analysts found every additional minute adds $269 in auto loan debt.
Texas dominates the list of high-auto debt cities, accounting for half the top 10, including the sprawling Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplexes. California accounts for four of the nation’s longest average commutes, each of which correlates to a higher-than-average amount financed.
Correspondingly, Rust Belt cities such as Detroit, Buffalo, and Cleveland, each of which boasts low commute times, tend to have the most affordable auto loans.
There are exceptions, noted the report’s author, LendingTree autos expert Jennifer Jones. McAllen, Texas, leads the nation in average auto loan amount at $28,963 — more than $12,000 higher than the lowest, Detroit — but boasts a relatively short 20-minute commute.
But the findings prove commute times can be a reliable indicator of a customer’s price range.
“The study shows that consumers are willing to spend more money on a vehicle when they spend more time in that vehicle,” Jones, LendingTree’s autos expert, told F&I and Showroom. “Auto dealers and F&I professionals could use this to inform their sales practices and show value.”
To read the full report, click here.