Increasingly, buyers are coming into showrooms because they want to—not just because they need to replace their current model—signaling a shift in consumer behavior.
"We're getting into a more discretionary market," said Emily Kolinski Morris, senior economist for Ford.
In addition to the reasons behind their shopping changing, consumers are also willing to pay more for their vehicles. Although the average transaction price paid for a new vehicle ticked slightly lower in May, after rising at a steady clip for more than a year, customers are still, on average, paying at least $30,000 on a new vehicle, according to TrueCar.com.
What's more, a study released by Experian Automotive earlier this week found that buyers are becoming more comfortable with taking on debt, and are capitalizing on historically low interest rates and longer payment terms to keep their monthly payment as low as possible.
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In the first quarter, one out of every four auto loans was written with repayment terms of six or seven years. That's the highest percentage of these loans the firm has ever recorded in a quarter.