Getting a 2011 Nissan Leaf For 63% Below MSRP

Last month, we detailed the world’s first mass-produced all-electric car, the 2011 Nissan Leaf, which will go on sale this December for about $33,000. However, we all know that there are a bewildering number of incentives – both federal and state – for buying a green car. Now GreenCarReports.com is reporting how eligible buyers can combine multiple incentives to take home a 2011 Nissan Leaf for 63% off MSRP – that’s only $12,280!

Of course, there are only a handful of potential buyers who live in the right state (CA), the right county (one of eight that comprise San Joaquin Valley), and work for the right employer (Sony) to take advantage of the full effect of these savings. Still, it’s an interesting exercise in seeing just how powerful these incentives can be. To get a Leaf for less than $15,000, the rest of us will have to wait for Nissan Leafs to show up on used car and buy here pay here car lots, presumably.

Toyota Recalling 740K US Cars

Toyota has been having a tough year with recalls. Everyone remembers the involuntary acceleration problems from early in the year, and in August more vehicles were recalled for problems with engines stalling.  Now Toyota is notifying the owners of more than 740,000 vehicles in the United States that they need to bring in their vehicles to fix a problem which could degrade braking performance over time. In the majority of models, the issue is tied to the master cylinder, which could slowly leak brake fluid over time.

The following US models could be affected:

  • Toyota Avalon (2005-2006)
  • Toyota Highlander (non-hybrid, 2004-2006)
  • Lexus RX330 (2004-2006)
  • Lexus GS300 (2006)
  • Lexus IS250 (2006)
  • Lexus IS350 (2006)

If need be, check with the buy here pay here car lot through whom you financed your vehicle if you are unsure whether or not it is affected. Toyota is, of course, correcting this problem free of charge.  They have been taking pains to really increase their quality-control guidelines and response time to such safety issues.

Increased Success in Preventing Car Loan Fraud

The US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, has recently published a report which shows that dealer and finance company staff have been making great gains in reporting and preventing auto loan fraud.  The study included an in-depth analysis of SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports) that cited identity theft.  The percentage of these reports that featured an attempt to employ identity theft in pursuit of car loan fraud dropped significantly in 2010.  Here’s the year-by-year stats:

  • 2004:  5%
  • 2006:  17.5%
  • 2007:  18%
  • 2008:  19%
  • 2009:  10.5%

FinCEN reports that this data reflects greater success in identifying fraudulent loans on the part of dealers, lenders, and buy here pay here car dealerships.

Identifying Identity Thieves

In 27% of cases, FinCen found that the perpetrator of the identity theft was a…

  • Family Member
  • Friend
  • Acquaintance
  • Employee in Victim’s Home

For the full report, please visit www.fincen.gov.

Chase Auto Loans on the Rise

One of the leading auto lenders, Chase, has recently reported that auto loan new business has risen 5% since last quarter. However, looking at their auto loan originations on a year to year basis, business is now significantly since 2009. 

Q3 2010:  $6.1 Billion
Q2 2010:  $5.8 Billion
Q3 2009:  $6.9 Billion

Average auto loans revenue, in total, was $47.7 billion – a 10% increase.  These loans, of course, are not granted via buy here pay here car lots, which finance customers “in-house.”

Getting a “Green” Warranty

Just about everything these days is going green, and now you can add auto warranties to the bandwagon. American Guardian Warranty Services Inc has announced that all of the materials and collateral associated with their Compass Protection Plan – agreements, brochures, etc – will now be published on paper certified as environmentally, socially, and economically by the Forest Stewardship Council. Additionally, the materials will be printed with soy ink on 30% post-consumer recycled paper.

The company says that they will soon be using this paper and ink for all of their marketing collateral. So if your Buy Here Pay Here car dealership offers several vehicle warranty options, ask if any of them are green – you might be surprised!

Young Americans Driving Significantly Less

A new study has been published which shows that Americans aged 21-29 are driving significantly fewer miles than they used to. Apparently, this age demographic used to account for 21% of the total miles driven by Americans. In 2009, however, they accounted for only 14% of those miles. The study related this trend to the rise in popularity of cellular technology and texting. Cars, once an integral part of American youth culture, have become less important to this demographic, and they feel less of a need to congregate physically with their friends, preferring instead to interact socially via their cell phones, the web, or a combination of the two. Fewer American youths aged 16 and 17 have been getting their drivers licenses, as well.

In both of these cases, finances may play a bigger role than initially assumed. After all, texting and interacting with friends via cell phone and the internet is much more affordable than driving long distances and making car payments. For some of us, it’s lamentable that the car seems to be losing ground as a part of youth culture. Perhaps if more people realized that buy here pay here financing may make a car more affordable for them, they would opt to get their licenses and drive more often.

Sigh…

At least less driving is better for the environment, if not the economy…

Nissan Leaf Sales Goal Reached Ahead of Schedule

Recently, we offered an article about a ground-breaking all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf. Nissan has sated that they had a sales goal of 20,000 units, for which they have been taking reservations. It appears that Nissan underestimates the US thirst for zero-emissions vehicles. Last week, Nissan announced that it had already reached its goal of 20K reservations…3 months ahead of schedule!

If you have very bad credit, you may have to wait for the Leaf to begin appearing on buy here pay here car dealerships, which could take up to a year or longer. If you have the credit history to buy or lease a Leaf, reservations will re-open in early 2011. You can sign now for the waiting list on the Nissan website. With $2000 cash at signing, you will be able to lease the base model Leaf for about $349 per month for 36 months.

“We Tote The Note” – What it Means

Often, you will drive past a dealership or see a newspaper advertisement which proclaims:  “We Tote The Note!”

A few members of our readership have asked what this phrase means, and how it relates to Buy Here Pay Here financing. Basically, “Tote The Note” dealers are synonymous with BHPH dealers. These, along with “Your Job is Your Credit” car dealers, are just different ways of advertising that a given car dealership offers in-house auto financing to its clients. Some of these slogans are used more prevalently in one region versus another, but all of them basically mean the same thing:  you can finance a car directly through the dealership, and you have a good chance of getting approved despite past or existing credit problems.

Buy Here Pay Here Motorcycles

Motorcyclists have to do deal with the difficulties of a financing a motorcycle with bad credit just like regular car shoppers. If anything, buying a motorcycle with poor credit can be more difficult than buying a car. After all, there a fewer motorcycle lenders and dealerships than automotive ones.  Given these difficulties, many riders go on the hunt for buy here pay here motorcycles. Unfortunately, car and motorcycle dealers typically operate out of separate establishments.  Buy Here Pay Here car dealerships sometimes offer motorcycles which they have received in trade; however, many of them simply do not have any cruisers, sport bikes, or other motorcycles in their inventory.

Finding Buy Here Pay Here Motorcycle Dealerships

You can call various motorcycle dealers in your area to see if they amenable to buy here pay here financing arrangements. You might find that although they do advertise this, they will work with you on a payment plan. Just beware of high interest rates.  Although your payments might be lower for a motorcycle vs a car, high rates can make for significant finance charges over time.

Keeping Your Bike Insured

Remember that most motorcycle lenders will require you to carry insurance on your bike before they will approve your credit. Too many people think they don’t or won’t need to insure their bike. Wrong.  In all but a select few states, it’s mandatory. If you have a high risk credit history or driving record, premiums could be very high. To find the cheapest deal possible, make sure to compare rates from a full spectrum of motorcycle insurance companies. Sometimes adding a bike to an existing auto policy is more affordable; sometimes not. The only way to get the lowest rates possible is to shop around.

World’s First Mass-Produced All-Electric Car

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is making headlines as the world’s first mass-produced all-electric automobile. Unlike hybrids on the market, the electric motor will not be accompanied by a regular gasoline internal combustion engine. This makes CO2 emissions equal zero, nada, nothing. On the other hand, the range will be only 100 miles. When many prospective buyers hear this, they get pretty worried. What about getting stuck somewhere? After all, there aren’t very many public charging stations. Plus, the car takes about 8 hours to fully recharge off a 220V outlet.

Nissan Leaf Range

Luckily, Nissan engineers have sought to allay some of these worries by incorporating a sophisticated software and internet system. The car will tell you exactly how many miles you have left “in the tank,” as well as where the nearest charging stations are and how to get to them. There is also an “Eco” mode that cuts power, boosts regenerative braking, and increases range by about 10%.

Nissan Leaf Power

The Leaf may offer only 107 hp, but this will come with 207 lb-ft of torque. Testers say the car feels downright powerful at below 30 mph, as 100% torque is available instantly. This is one of the primary characteristics of electric motors, and the reason that electric cars do not need multiple gears.

Buying a Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf will go on sale this December for $33,560. Remember this comes with a $7500 Federal tax credit, a 50% tax credit for installation of a 220-volt home power supply, and a variety of state incentives (as much as a $5000 rebate in CA). Still, for those of us with sub-stellar credit, we may need to wait a couple of years until these cars start showing up on Buy Here Pay Here car dealerships around town. By then, of course, public charging stations will be much more prevalent across the nation, thereby minimizes one of the main inconveniences associated with an all-electric automobile.