Does Audi, Hyundai, Subaru, Or VW Have The Savviest New Car Shoppers? The Answer Is Clear

Are customers buying 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, Forester, and other all-wheel-drive models smarter than those buying the Hyundai Santa Fe, Audi Q5, and Volkswagen Golf? from Automotive News (by subscription) ‘s new report says yes. They are making the most informed new car buying decisions today.

In the new car buying environment, shoppers need to be savvy to maximize the value of their vehicles and make the transaction. Interest rates are rising and many buyers are combining long-term vehicle ownership with long-term loans. For example, 84-month loans are now found in about one-fifth of financed new car sales.

Photo credit: Patrick Subaru

Jeff Williams, vice president of Williams Auto World, which owns Subaru stores, Hyundai stores, Audi and Volkswagen stores, can compare the customers of the four car brands. Williams said Subaru customers today are the smartest shoppers.

According to Experian, the average interest rate on new car loans was 5.2% in the third quarter, up from 4.1% a year earlier. As interest rates rise, Subaru customers deposit more money.

2023 Subaru Outback
Photo credit: Patrick Subaru

Williams said Subaru retailers are seeing more cash purchases and larger down payments in the trade for new and used Subaru vehicles. He said his Subaru dealer had seen more cash buyers than he had met “for quite some time” and explained that he received many “big down payments” in the $20,000 to $25,000 range.

Williams said Subaru customers are more knowledgeable than Hyundai, Audi and Volkswagen car buyers. “They buy Subarus for value and quality,” he said, adding that buyers typically keep their cars for the long term. They are also educated and think a lot about money, he said.

Customers at Hyundai, Audi and Volkswagen are combining new-vehicle purchases with long-term loans, such as the 84-month terms found in about one-fifth of financed new-car sales, Williams said.

He said Subaru consumers buy the car and spend three to five years to raise the money. But Subaru customers don’t combine new car purchases with long-term loans. “We don’t see a significant increase in long-term lending,” he said.

What does that mean for Subaru buyers?

Buyers with short-term loans can avoid trouble when trading in their Subaru. It’s easy to get “upside down” on a 72-84 month loan. When it comes time to buy a new car, you owe more than the car is worth.

In a recent interview, Subaru of America President and CEO Tom Dole explained why it doesn’t offer 72- or 84-month loans like other automakers. Dole says he cares about his customers now because they will be back in the all-wheel-drive trade in four to five years from him.

Subaru customers buying the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, Forester, and other all-wheel-drive models are smarter than buyers of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Audi Q5, and Volkswagen Golf. They don’t pay high interest rates, they don’t take out loans for 48-60 months, and they don’t regret buying a Subaru.

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Denis Flierl has been in the automotive industry for over 30 years working with all major car brands in consulting roles. He is a certified member of his Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out his report on Subaru where he covers all models of the Japanese automaker. You can find more stories on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Dennis on Facebook. twitterand Instagram.

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