With speculation growing that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates—and, by extension, push financing rates higher—there's a healthy debate as to whether such a move would stop consumers from buying a new or used vehicle.
According to one expert, that's not likely.
"If you take just a quarter-point increase, the average loan payment would go up less than $3 per month," said Jason Laky, senior vice president and auto business leader at TransUnion, which tracks the 72.4 million outstanding auto loans in the U.S. "I don't think that cuts much into the consumer's wallet."
Through the second quarter of 2015, the most recent loan data according to TransUnion, the average monthly auto payment was $438.73. Laky estimates a quarter-point interest rate hike would ultimately increase payments by $2.52, to a new average monthly payment of $441.25.
"Think of it as being the same price as a grande coffee at Starbucks," he said.
TransUnion reports the average interest rate for an auto loan is 7.44 percent.