Porsche has overtaken Tesla for the highest average credit score by an automaker, according to LendingTree.
Stereotypes regarding who drives what kind of vehicle have been around forever. There’s a reason Oldsmobile had to market itself as “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile.”
But the type of car you drive actually does say a lot about you, especially when it comes to your credit rating. LendingTree analyzed more than 38,000 auto loans to find the car brands whose drivers have the highest (and lowest) average credit score.
Porsche buyers take the top spot with average credit scores of 725 — leapfrogging Tesla, which took the top spot in last year’s analysis. Tesla drivers now have the second highest average credit score, dropping from 740 in last year’s analysis to 717.
Certain Tesla models have become slightly more affordable, which can open up the market to buyers who may have slightly lower credit histories, theorized LendingTree.
Porsche and Tesla are the only automakers with average credit scores above 700. Kia and Nissan have the lowest average credit scores of the makes we analyzed, at 654 and 657, respectively.
Regardless of make, a credit score in the fair (580 to 669) range was enough — on average — to be approved for an auto loan. No qualifying automaker has an average credit score below 650.
When LendingTree previously researched what brands borrowers stretched their finances the most to buy, the company determined that people spent an average of $54,234 to buy a used Tesla and $42,173 to buy a used Porsche, with average monthly payments of $818 and $635, respectively.
Land Rover, Volvo and Audi took the next spots for the highest average credit scores of borrowers approved for auto loans. While not as high as Tesla and Porsche, the three makes were all between 690 and 692. Volvo and Audi were both in the top five in last year’s study, too, but Land Rover finished just outside at No. 6.
Buyers of fellow luxury auto brands Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, Infiniti and Cadillac had lower average credit scores — 672, 669, 665 and 663, respectively. Those four fell below several mass-market brands, including Honda, Toyota and Ford.
Kia and Nissan and bring up the rear with the lowest average credit scores of people approved for used auto loans: 654 and 657, respectively. Chrysler, which was at the bottom in last year’s study, Buick and Cadillac were in the neighborhood, with average scores of 659, 662 and 663, respectively.
"To expand or shift marketing to better attract a demographic, automakers could focus on either broadcasting the available low or zero-percent financing deals, or price reductions," Jones tells DriveTime.
Monthly car payments are just a fraction of true car ownership. Car repairs are a less predictable expense, and one that many car owners are not prepared to pay.
Another recent survey by LendingTree found that 43% of Americans have gone into debt because of car trouble and 28% of Americans would not be able to make a $500 car repair without going into debt.
Forty-three percent of all drivers and 58% of millennials have been in debt for car trouble. Of that number, 21% said their debt occurred in the four months since the coronavirus started in the U.S. in March 2020.
Consumers of color are disproportionately dealing with debt due to car trouble. Black Americans (59%), Hispanic Americans (52%) and Asian Americans (47%) vehicle owners have been in auto repair debt at higher rates than white Americans (38%).
About 28% of Americans would not be able to cover a $500 car repair without taking on debt and 58% of Americans have skipped a necessary car repair because they couldn't afford it.