Took this picture last week at a clients’ office. Pop quiz: If you’ve listened to me for any length of time it should be a no-brainer: Which one is my car: You’re looking at a one-year old Mercedes, a 2007 Ford Fusion and a brand new Mazda SUV…
One of my best friends has 10 years experience driving in Toronto. She’s absolutely convinced she can tell what kind of person is driving based on the type of car. For instance, she’ll never drive behind Chevy Cavaliers because she thinks they’re some of the worst drivers. Now that’s her very unscientific opinion, and yours might be different – assuming you ever gave that much thought.
But does the kind of car you drive have a connection to your credit rating? The credit bureau reporting agency Experian did a study that says yes. This study is really accurate because they took actual credit information and actual car owners. You may disagree, you may be exempt, but the averages are accurate. Now remember that the connection is only for those people who finance or lease. If you’ve paid cash there’s no loan payment on your credit report and the connection can’t be made.
Lexus: If you’re driving an RX350, your credit score is in the 775 range. Where 850 is perfect, that puts you in the top 10%. Makes sense, since the vehicle is very expensive and has super high payments.
Acura: Drivers of two Acura models (the MDX and RDX) make the list of top five credit ratings. These drivers average credit scores of 765 or so and average less than one percent default on their loans. What’s strange is that owners who leased don’t have good credit ratings for some reason – just those who financed.
The Subaru Forester and Outback complete the list of top five of highest credit rating drivers.
Leading the ‘really bad’ credit list of the bottom five is the Dodge Avenger. In the story from the Arizona Republic, the headline was: Driving a Dodge Avenger? Your bumper sticker might as well say: Bankruptcy filer on board. Some of the reasons are that the vehicle is very inexpensive and purchased by large numbers of subprime (bad credit score) customers. The average Avenger owner’s credit rating is 619 – a score that wouldn’t qualify for a line of credit or many decent credit card offers.
Two Kia models are on the bottom-five list: The Rio and Forte. Both are inexpensive and thus need a much smaller down payment. With average car loans over six years now, that matters to payment sensitive owners.
Rounding out the bottom five are the Chrysler 200 and Nissan Versa.
Remember that your credit rating is based on how much you finance, how high your payments are compared to the rest of what you owe on credit cards, loans, etc. Of course, the most critical factor is making your payment on time – every time. Those two things: On-time payments and your debt load make up two-thirds of your credit rating.