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Report: Auto industry kept quiet about higher costs in 2009

Apr 27, 2011 Brian Bradley

New research by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) indicates that consumers who financed a car through a dealership in 2009 will pay more than $25.8 billion in extra interest over the lives of their loans because of dealer interest rate markups. The report - Under the Hood: Auto Loan Interest Rate Hikes Inflate Consumer Costs and Loan Losses - examines the often confusing world of hidden rate markups - the interest rate car dealers can add to car loans beyond the rate consumers qualify for based on their credit histories. The $25.8 billion in extra interest marks a nationwide increase of 24 percent from 2007. CRL also found that undisclosed markups increase the odds that a sub-prime borrower will default by 12 percent and odds that he or she will end up having their car repossessed by 33 percent. CRL's report also finds that dealers are more likely to charge higher markups to consumers with weaker credit compared to those with better credit. Loans made in connection with finance companies that focus on subprime borrowers may have an additional undisclosed 5 percent kickback included by the dealer. "The lack of transparency in dealer-financed loans makes it impossible for consumers to know the real cost of their loans and whether the service of dealer financing is worth the cost," said Chris Kukla, Senior Counsel for Government Affairs of CRL.