Ford is a business. Hell, it’s in their name: Ford Motor Company. That means, come the end of the day, they have to turn a profit to keep the lights on. Well, that and to make more excellent Ford GT’s. However, business sense and morality often collide. Usually, one wins over the other. That’s why we’re here. Unfortunately, business may have beat out morality again (hi there, Tesla). Now, it’s time to examine why the American motor company’s loans, and those of other automakers, may be detrimental to buyers.
Car finance 101
First, a little finance 101. Just like a house, a car is one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make. As such, loans can be helpful. They can also be harmful, but more on that in a bit. A loan can be helpful because that expensive car is now divided up into more manageable monthly payments. These payments can be further reduced by putting money “down” on the purchase price of the vehicle, reducing how much you need to finance.
Usually, your bank will offer financing. Generally speaking, they’ll do it for a small interest rate on the loan, say, 1%-3%. Sometimes, manufacturers will do it too, as Ford has done. Volkswagen will do it, offering 60 months at a low .9% interest rate. Volvo will go as high as 1.99%. For some automakers, this is where the trouble starts. From one point of view, this may not be a good thing, as Ford, the people who make your car, now have a vested interest in keeping you in that loan for as long as possible. The trade-off? A lower monthly payment to entice buyers into a very nice new car, or truck as the case may be.
Ford’s 7-year loan offering
According to Cars Direct, Ford will offer you a 7-year loan to the tune of a massive 5.9% APR, far above that of VW, but the company will come down on an APR deal. That is a frankly absurd interest rate. Some quick math reveals that the American automaker will make roughly $4,500 in interest off of you during those seven years. This isn’t even the first time the automaker has done this, though it should be noted the practice is becoming more common in the industry. The new Mustang Mach E had a very similar offer at a similarly appalling interest rate.
All this to say nothing of the depreciation. The Maverick could be a smash hit, like the Mach E. Or, it could tank along with its resale value. Regardless, seven years of depreciation at a segment average of around 20%-40% isn’t a good look. Based on that math, you’d be losing close to $5,000 in the first year, all while paying Ford their 5.9% interest rate. You would be far better off putting some money down and financing through your local credit union or one of the brand’s other loan programs that offers a lower rate.
This is not a good idea
Here’s where we get into business vs. morality and playing devil’s advocate. Or, in this case, Ford’s advocate. It is a smart business move. The customer is loaned your truck for their entire ownership of the vehicle, and then you, as Ford, can take it back on trade and sell it again. Of course, this isn’t exactly moral. An absurdly high interest rate, coupled with depreciation, does not leave the customer in a happy place. Though this is based on opinion, please consider other alternatives to Ford’s loan program, such as a loan from your local credit union, or the brand’s own 0% APR programs, should you qualify.