SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Zero percent finance deals were slower to materialize for car shoppers in July, according to the latest report from Edmunds. Zero percent finance deals accounted for 6.92% of sales in July 2018, compared to 11.34% in July 2017 and 11.18% in July 2013. Analysts note that this is the lowest share of zero percent finance deals seen in July since 2005.
“Zero percent finance deals typically peak in summer months as a tried-and-true automaker method of spurring outgoing model-year vehicle sales, so this appears to mark the end of a fairly long-lived tradition for the industry,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. “While inventory isn’t at the alarming level it was at this stage last year, how automakers navigate their model-year selldown will be critical through the rest of the year as the market contracts and prices continue to rise.”
Edmunds analysts point to the scarcity of zero percent finance deals as the driving force behind interest rates sustaining near-record average highs in July. The annual percentage rate on new financed vehicles averaged 5.74% in July 2018 compared to 4.77% in July 2017, representing the largest year-over-year jump in APR that Edmunds experts have seen so far in 2018.
“Interest rates might be down slightly month-over-month, but they’re still hovering near a nine-year high,” said Acevedo. “With more Fed rate hikes ahead, it’s not likely that APRs will be going down anytime soon.”