This report explores the US car finance market and the consumer preferences affecting growth, backed with data. Below, we’ve summarized the key topics covered and offer select findings from the report.

Key Topics Covered

  • Upcoming vehicle purchase considerations and preferences.
  • Buyer interest in vehicle types.
  • Payment methods car buyers plan to use.
  • Shift in demand between auto lenders.
  • Most sought after auto loan benefits.
  • Financing preferences.

US Car Finance Market Overview

The vehicle financing market has been significantly affected by inflation, deterring many potential car buyers. As extremely high demand keeps vehicle prices high through 2024, car financing will become a necessity for nearly three out of five auto buyers. These consumers are increasingly turning to banks for auto loans and are ready to make concessions for lower monthly payments.

The Vehicle Finance Consumer Explored

The impact of the new car market on vehicle financing

While used cars make up 40% of purchases, new cars are the most popular choice for Americans. This growth of the new car market and increased price point affects vehicle financing, as consumers are opting for higher down payments to offset rising interest rates.

Payment preferences in upcoming car purchases

Upcoming car purchasers are considering either paying in full or taking out an auto loan at almost equal percentages. This sizable segment of US consumers considering full cash payment suggests widespread concern around accumulating further debt in the near term. It also suggests a lack of knowledge around vehicle affordability.

Opportunity in the Car Finance Market

Auto loan marketers can overcome consumer hesitance toward current rates by promoting cash incentives, especially for segments that prefer using credit cards for vehicle purchases. These segments, often higher-earners, value rewards and incentives, and may be motivated to make a vehicle purchase despite the price environment.

A complete analysis of the US car financing market environment is covered in the purchasable report. You may also be interested in viewing our finance or automotive market research.

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Expert Analysis

Leading finance analyst Patrick Rahlfs delivers expert insight with this report.

With demand for new vehicles surging despite sustained elevated prices, auto loan seekers are shifting their priorities, keeping a keen eye on monthly budgets.

Patrick Rahlfs, Senior Finance Research Analyst


Patrick Rahlfs
Senior Research Analyst

Table of Contents

    • Key issues covered in this Report
  1. Executive Summary

    • Graph 1: attitudes toward auto loan payments, 2020-23
  2. Consumer Insights

    • Consumer fast facts
    • Next vehicle purchase
    • Graph 2: next planned car purchase, 2023
    • Graph 3: next planned car purchase, by year, 2020-23
    • Graph 4: number of vehicles in household, by year, 2020-23
    • Graph 5: car purchase decision-making, by year, 2021-23
    • Vehicle types
    • Graph 6: most recent vehicle purchase type, 2023
    • Graph 7: considered vehicle types for next purchase, 2023
    • Graph 8: new and used cards, past vs planned purchases, 2023
    • Graph 9: considered vehicle types for planned vehicle purchases, 2023
    • Vehicle financing methods
    • Graph 10: planned vehicle payments, 2023
    • Graph 11: planned vehicle payments, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 12: planned vehicle financing, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 13: plans for auto loans by vehicle type, 2023
    • Auto lenders
    • Graph 14: planned vehicle financing sources, by year, 2020-23
    • Graph 15: planned vehicle financing sources, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 16: planned vehicle financing sources, by timing of planned purchase, 2023
    • Graph 17: planned source of financing, by household income, 2023
    • Auto loan benefits
    • Graph 18: most important loan benefits, 2023
    • Graph 19: most important loan benefits, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 20: most important loan benefits, by household income, 2023
    • Graph 21: incentive prioritization, by gender, 2023
    • Graph 22: desired auto loan benefits, by race and Hispanic origin, 2023
    • Financing preferences
    • Graph 23: attitudes toward vehicle purchasing, by year, 2020-23
    • Graph 24: choosing vehicle before figuring out how to afford it, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 25: preapproval preference, by race, 2023
    • Graph 26: credit card car purchase behaviors, by gender and age, 2023
    • Vehicle financing attitudes
    • Graph 27: attitudes toward monthly loan payments, 2021-23
    • Graph 28: attitudes toward financing options, by year, 2017-23
    • Graph 29: attitudes toward car insurance options, by generation, 2023
    • Graph 30: stress and effects of inflation, by gender and age, 2023
    • Graph 31: vehicle financing preferences, by household income, 2023
    • Graph 32: desire for more vehicle financing educational resources, by race and Hispanic origin and age, 2023
    • Graph 33: online shopping preference, by vehicle type considering, 2023
  3. Competitive Strategies

    • Launch activity and innovation
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Graph 34: auto loan email volume and read rate, 2019-23
    • Graph 35: cross-channel auto loan marketing spend, 2019-23
    • Opportunities
  4. The Market

    • Market drivers
    • Graph 36: number of auto loans, 2014-23
    • Graph 37: newly delinquent auto loan balances, 2014-23
    • Graph 38: auto loan debt by age, 2023
    • Market size and forecast
    • Graph 39: total US vehicle sales and forecast of vehicle sales, by units, 2018-23
    • Graph 40: total US market share of new and used cars, by segment, 2021 and 2023
    • Graph 41: inventory of new and used vehicles, 2022-23
  5. Appendix

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


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