Car loans: Should you drive in that offer?

If you have decided to buy a car, some of the offers may come your way
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First Published: Tue, Oct 30 2012. 08 40 PM IST
Shyamal Banerjee/Mint
Shyamal Banerjee/Mint
Updated: Tue, Oct 30 2012. 08 59 PM IST
With banks coming up with a slew of festive offers on car loans, it may be task to pick the cheapest loan. Mint Money looks at all the offers available in the market and tells you the right way to pick a car loan.
What’s on offer?
State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, has cut its processing fee on auto loans by 50%. So the processing fee has been reduced to 0.255% from 0.51% for all loan amounts, subject to a minimum of Rs.510 and a maximum of Rs.5,100. If you take a car loan of, say, Rs.10 lakh, you will save Rs.2,550 through this offer.
Bank of Baroda has come up with an offer for its existing customers of home loan and they will get an additional concession of 0.25% on a car loan.
Vijaya Bank Ltd has cut interest rates on car loans by 30 basis points (bps) and car loans will be available at 11%. One bps is a hundredth of a percentage point.
Corporation Bank will give a concession of 0.25% in interest rate for vehicle loans, if the borrower avails both home and car loans. There will be no processing fee charges till 30 November.
Uco Bank Ltd has also come up with a combo offer where the bank has waived off processing fee on car loan in case you take both home and car loans. Syndicate Bank is giving car loans at an interest rate of 10.75% for a period of 84 months and financing up to 95% of the cost of the vehicle’s on-road price.
How to choose?
Compare total cost: The most basic thing to do is to zero in on car loans with the lowest interest rate, while keeping an eye on the processing fee. For instance, in case of a Rs.10 lakh car loan for five years, an SBI customer will save around Rs.5,000 compared with a Syndicate Bank customer, because of the 25 bps difference in interest rate even though SBI has a processing fee and Syndicate Bank doesn’t.
Look at prepayment penalty: Most auto loans impose a penalty, usually a percentage of the outstanding loan amount, if you prepay the loan. Consider this cost if you think you would be in a position to prepay in the near future. Some banks such as SBI, Bank of Baroda and Corporation Bank don’t have a prepayment penalty.
Watch out for
Assess affordability: Just because banks are offering attractive deals, you shouldn’t start looking out for a loan. For example, most of the offers are a combination of home and car loans. Bearing two equated monthly instalments (EMIs) may burden you.
Says Veer Sardesai, a Pune-based financial planner, “A concession in the rate or a waiver on processing charge is not an adequate reason for taking a car loan. In case of combo loan, home is an asset so taking a home loan makes sense. However, a car loan is a liability which you take for a depreciating product. You should go for the combo offer only if you are comfortable with the total EMI outflow.”
Look at cost of financing: Unlike home loans, banks sometime finance up to 100% of the vehicle cost. For example, HDFC Bank Ltd gives 100% of the cost of the vehicle. If you are not in a state to pay a lump sum amount, but still aspire to own a four-wheeler, you may want to look at it, but this would also mean bearing that high an EMI. Says Suresh Sadagopan, a Mumbai-based financial planner, “Financing up to 100% of the cost of the vehicle is a high-risk loan for a bank. Hence, it will be a costlier one for the consumer. Also, the bigger the loan amount, higher will be the interest cost. If you can’t afford to pay a lump sum amount in the initial stage, it would be better to reconsider your decision.” You may be better off postponing your decision in that case.
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First Published: Tue, Oct 30 2012. 08 40 PM IST
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