New car driving down road Source: Isamare/Shutterstock

As auto prices climb, they are outpricing many consumers’ budgets. New car sales in the U.S. fell in 2019, and most analyses predict a slight slip of sales in 2020, according to the New York Times. The average monthly payment for vehicles is also near an all-time high – $554 for new vehicles and $391 for used vehicles – according to Experian. Thanks to these higher prices, auto delinquency rates surged to record highs in 2019, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

These numbers are having a big impact on consumers. According to a recent PenFed survey, nearly half (46%) of respondents ranked the amount of the monthly payment as the most important factor in choosing an auto loan. Respondents also ranked price, along with reliability, as the top factors in choosing a vehicle, above performance, comfort, brand reputation and even safety.

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