Car buyers face financing squeeze

Car buyers are at the center of a vehicle-finance tornado. Quarter after quarter, auto loan amounts, interest rates and monthly payments keep rising, and incentives keep falling.

Those auto finance trends are starting to pinch — hard, especially at the low end of the new-vehicle spectrum. And that’s driving some new-car shoppers into used vehicles, experts said.

“This is reality now,” said Frank Maione, owner of Henderson Hyundai Superstore near Las Vegas. Maione said some customers are shocked to learn that compared with the last time they bought a vehicle, sweet finance deals such as 0 percent interest are harder, if not impossible, to get.