Sub-prime borrowers are buying completely different cars than everyone else, at least according to data gathered by Carfinance.com. This financing company that specializes in helping "below-prime" borrowers finance their car purchases looked at data gathered from between October 2012 and March 2013. According to their numbers, the top 10 new cars bought by sub-prime borrowers during that time are as follows.
  1. Dodge Avenger
  2. Kia Forte
  3. Kia Optima
  4. Chrysler 200
  5. Dodge Journey
  6. Ford Focus
  7. Ram 1500
  8. Nissan Sentra
  9. Nissan Versa
  10. Kia Sorento
Small and midsize sedans dominate the sub-prime borrowers shopping list, though not the same four-doors as the general public is buying in droves. Whereas the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima are the three top-selling midsize sedans in the US overall, sub-prime borrowers only have eyes for the midsize Dodge Avenger. In fact, the only vehicle that makes an appearance both here and on the list of top 10 selling vehicles overall is the Ram 1500.

Speaking of which, the Ram pickup also tops the list of top 10 used vehicles purchased by sub-prime borrowers (below), which also includes fullsize pickups from Ford and Chevy, as well as the lone example of what might be considered a less-than-practical purchase on either list, the Ford Mustang. The list of top used vehicles also shows that buyers are getting more car for their money, moving up to mid- and fullsize cars with nary a compact in sight.
  1. Ram 1500
  2. Nissan Altima
  3. Ford F-150
  4. Dodge Charger
  5. Chevy Silverado
  6. Chevy Impala
  7. Chevy Malibu
  8. Toyota Camry
  9. Chrysler 300
  10. Ford Mustang
What's the takeaway? Considering this data comes only from a six-month period, and from a single company's set of customers as well, we shouldn't give it too much weight. Still, the lists do suggest what we already expected, that sub-prime borrowers aren't usually buying what they want, but rather what they need.


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  • 129 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      R S
      • 1 Year Ago
      I work at a dealership, the reason these cars on the list, is the rebates on these low demand vehicles. The huge rebate vs selling price. I sell theToyota Camry with no rebate vs a Chrsler 200 with a $3500 rebate. Subprime customers usually have no money down. The rebate allows the dealership to shop a loan with 3500 down vs 0 down on a Toyota Camry. They would not be able to be approved for a loan on a Camry, but with $3500 down at a Chrysler dealership would get the loan approved. This is the real reason in most cases. I stress in most cases!
        Bruce Lee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @R S
        I never realized you could count the rebate as a downpayment amount...that's ridiculous and kinda defeats the point of a down payment
      SpikedLemon
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would argue that buyers of the pickup trucks are unlikely to have a farm or a business that requires a truck. I bet they buy the pickup just because they want a truck... and then realize the fuel costs.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SpikedLemon
        [blocked]
      550PlusX5
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's just funny that what got most americans into this financial mess was subprime lending....And now, subprime lending is back....Lol...People in this country will never learn.... But hey, I guess if you make minimum payments, that's all that matters...That's the american way...Spend money you don't have but act rich...
        eliotsmeliot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @550PlusX5
        Well if you stop letting people buy cars because they have bad credit, money stops moving and the economy gets worse. Pick you poison.
          550PlusX5
          • 1 Year Ago
          @eliotsmeliot
          Lol... so the solution is to spend more money that people don't have so that more people can go bankrupt (again), and so that more banks and lenders can ask for a financial bailout when they go under (again), so that the government can print more money and borrow more for china, mortgaging our future and putting this country into further debt slavery(again)...And yet, people complain about US being bought by foreigners. Americans like you are everything what is wrong with this country. No basic knowledge of finance, money management, and continuously drain the system at the expense of others. People dug their own graves by the financial decisions they make and will continue to make. Thank god I don't have to deal with these finance issues. Not my problem and not my concern.
        shelvis68comebak
        • 1 Year Ago
        @550PlusX5
        What caused the mess was the banks not lending anymore money. To business including the Detroit 3. That was the problem.
          550PlusX5
          • 1 Year Ago
          @shelvis68comebak
          Umm, you forgot the part about that sales declined before of generally outdated products and general problem of average joe who no longer could buy a car on credit... Thank you. I am now happier to know that there will be plenty of people who will continue to spend mo' money they don't have even in a bad economy. Thank you, because this means I will have a forever lifetime supply of debt slaves who will perpetually have to rent because they won't ever be able to afford to save to own a home...Thank you, because this means that I can continue to sell smartphone products that people will continue to waste their hard earned paychecks on, so that I can continue to increase my net worth... There will always be a 5%-1% crowd because the remaining 95-99% of the people haven't learned anything and continues to mortgage their future to death at the expense of making the 5%-1% crowd wealthier..The same people that the 95-99% supposedly hates...Really smart there..
      Chris Burns
      • 1 Year Ago
      what makes you aka AutoBlog think that they are not buying the cars that they actually want? Not everyone likes Camrys, and Accords. People do have different tastes whether you agree with them or not.
        Yeah yeah
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris Burns
        So you are suggesting that for whatever reason sub-prime borrowers actually prefer the Dodge Avenger to Camrys and Accords at far greater rates than the rest of the general public? Interesting theory, but I'll go with the fact that the Avenger is way cheaper than it's competitors as being the more plausible explanation.
        clquake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris Burns
        It's more like they can't afford Camrys or Accords.
          DK
          • 1 Year Ago
          @clquake
          The Camry is on the one list...
      cgm9999
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a veteran and a former active duty soldier of 9 years, I can personally say that this list is 100% accurate. You have no idea how many times I've been on the phone with one of my Soldiers' debt collectors trying to sort out their financial problems because they purchased one of these cars when they couldn't afford it (NCOs know what I'm talking about here; civilians will be baffled). You see so many Dodge Ram, Avengers, and Calibers on Army posts that I used to joke they were the mascot of the E4 Mafia.
      bootsnchaps60
      • 1 Year Ago
      I rented a Dodge Avenger recently and liked it because it was relatively low tech. No screens, just traditional instrumentation. I'd consider a used one.
      muchdrama
      • 1 Year Ago
      '...but rather buying what they need.' Holy crap! Buying what one needs! Cats and dogs living together!
      Justin Campanale
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why the hell are these people buying pickup trucks, Mustangs, and midsizers? If you can't afford a new car, get a used one. It's as simple as that. A new car is a huge expenditure and isn't something you buy if you have bad credit. A B or C segment used car is what you should get if you're in this situation and you NEED a new car.
      Ryan C. Lawson
      • 1 Year Ago
      Of course I'm the guy who can't afford a new car but bought an avenger cuz I could... +1 if you agree that I should have bought a used car (WRX) and had more money for a better apartment...
      Les Foster
      • 1 Year Ago
      I honestly think that a better list would be the top 10 repo'd cars. That would be interesting to see and probably indicate which cars are "more subprime purchased than others". Now a-days though, everything can be purchased on credit. Want a $600 laptop, go down to best buy and apply for a in-store credit card. Want a new $1500 living room set, go down to rooms to go, apply for credit and get a tv too. I'm not saying that if you can't afford it cash that you shouldn't buy it. There are times that you do need to finance something. However some of it is stupid.
      Jim Pease
      • 1 Year Ago
      Do dealers really let people leave a car lot with a car and no financing? A friend of a friend supposedly drove around in a new Toyota for two weeks before they were able to get him financing because of his credit history. I won't even mention the "rent to own" wheels he put on it.
        nmyunit
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim Pease
        yes. dealers often let people off the lot (on Saturdays, when banks are closed) before they have their deal financed. they take risks on some people based upon down pmt, credit, trade.
        Rashard Longino
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim Pease
        Unfortunately, it does happen, especially on Sundays when dealers are open but banks are not. You'd be amazed at what really happens at some dealerships these days.
        Jim Pease
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim Pease
        Thanks guys! I had no idea!
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