Mike Stoller, a spokesman for the giant lender GMAC, said consumers are in a mode where playing it safe is important. "High loan to value transactions are being replaced with a greater need for investment by the consumer," he said. "Certainly, looking at employment history is part of our process. But people who take care of their credit are in an advantageous position. "
McDonald, from GM, added, "If you can put more money down, or offer a good trade-in, that puts you in a stronger position. This is something people haven't thought of in the past because there were so many zero down offers."
Is It a Good Time To Buy a Car?
If you are really asking, "Are there good deals out there?" the answer is an emphatic "yes." Said a Detroit automotive analyst, "if you have good credit, and you go to a car lot, they will kiss the ground you walk on."
"If you're staying away because you think you can't get financed or don't think we have the cars you want, think again," said Michels. "It's a fabulous time to buy a car." He noted that Toyota has recently increased its inventory of the fuel-efficient 2009 Toyota Yaris and the ever-popular Corolla.
But Toprak suggested that the old saying, "Don't buy the deal, buy the car," was still sound advice. In other words, don't just buy a new car because you hear there are killer deals out there. Buy a car if you need one.
And Weintraub added a further note of caution: "Look out for the salesman who hasn't made a commission for awhile — he could try to pull one over on you."