The Top Ten Most Purchased Vehicles By Below-Prime Customers for 2013

Kia dominates with four models in top 10; trucks dominate used list

Mar 10, 2014, 11:00 ET from

IRVINE, Calif., March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- today released data on the top ten new and used vehicle choices for its below-prime car buyers for 2013.[1] With below-prime car buyers predicted to be one of the driving forces behind U.S. auto sales growth in 2014[2] – and subprime auto loans accounting for more than half of used auto and a quarter of new-vehicle financing[3] -'s report provides an important window into the purchasing behavior of this influential segment of the car-buying population.

Based on's full year 2013 financing data, the list of most purchased vehicles diverges completely from the top ten selling vehicles in the US[4]. Kia, a brand known for affordable, fuel efficient vehicles, dominates the below-prime new vehicle list, offering the automaker an important opportunity to develop loyalty among this customer base as it moves upstream. Chevrolet performed well in both new and used below-prime categories. Overall, below-prime car buyers continue to purchase new compacts, used trucks and affordable vehicles that may not have a flashy pedigree, but offer great value.

"The Top Ten Lists offer a snapshot of the vehicle preferences of consumers credited with helping drive U.S. auto sales growth," said CarFinance CEO Jim Landy. "The automaker brands that show up on these lists should take note: today's below-prime car buyer – who is already re-building credit with a car purchase - could be your brand-loyal prime customer of tomorrow."

The Top Ten New Vehicles Purchased by Below-Prime Car Buyers

  1. Dodge Avenger and Kia Optima (Tied)
  2. Kia Forte
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Kia Soul
  5. Dodge Journey
  6. Chevrolet Malibu
  7. Chevrolet Cruze
  8. Chrysler 200
  9. Kia Rio
  10. Nissan Sentra

Top Ten Below Prime New: Most Purchased - Analysis

  • Compact cars that offer good fuel economy and value in their class heavily dominate the list.
  • With four models on the list, Kia definitely is hitting a mark with this segment - its range of product is resonating with this buyer.
  • More domestics (6) make the list than imports – with Kia and Nissan as the only import brands in the top ten.
  • No SUVs or trucks make the list – although the Kia Soul offers an 'SUV-like' vehicle, without the expense of actually being one. And the Dodge Journey with a three-row seat option offers family-friendly space, more affordably than the average mini-van.
  • Below-prime car buyers snapped up the great deals offered by dealerships as they moved the 2013 Malibu off their lots to make way for a design update.
  • The most popular vehicle with these consumers, the Dodge Avenger, is an often overlooked midsize sedan that performs well at a competitive price
  • The Chrysler 200 is a natural for the list – given that it is essentially the same vehicle as the Dodge Avenger: different design but similar incentives.
  • Ford Focus is no surprise in third place – it's a well-designed, competitively priced compact, available as a sedan or hatchback, with appeal as a great ride even at the most basic and affordable trim level.
  • The popularity of the Optima, Soul, Rio and Forte, which offer 10 year/100K miles warranties, indicate that not only are fuel economy and pricing probably key to this buyer, but so are longer manufacturer warranties

Top Ten Used Vehicles Purchased by Below-Prime Car Buyers

  1. Nissan Altima
  2. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  3. RAM 1500
  4. Ford F150
  5. Chevrolet Impala
  6. Dodge Charger
  7. Toyota Camry
  8. Chevrolet Malibu
  9. Honda Accord
  10. Ford Fusion

Top Ten Below Prime Used: Most Purchased - Analysis

  • The used story is one of trucks and domestic sedans– and import sedans that hold their value.
  • Domestics (led by Chevrolet) overwhelmed imports, with only three import models, Altima, Camry (top-selling sedan in the US)[5] and the Accord, cracking the top ten.
  • Unlike the new vehicle list, which lacks trucks or SUVs, it's no surprise to see three trucks near the top here, given their overall popularity in the market, their longevity and the value they offer as pre-owned vehicles.
  • Chevrolet Impala and Dodge Charger show up as strong choices for consumers looking for larger cars at more affordable prices.

About ( is dedicated to helping the nation's large population of car buyers with less-than-perfect credit purchase a quality, late-model vehicle. empowers car shoppers to apply for a new or used car loan, or potentially lower their existing car loan payments through refinancing, from the comfort of home.  The entire process is completed virtually online directly with the lender, and personal information is kept private, safe and secure. enables car shoppers to walk into the dealership with their financing in place and confident they can secure a better deal by negotiating price as if they were "cash buyers." Headquartered in Irvine, California, is led by the team that built Triad Financial, one of the largest non-prime U.S. auto finance companies.

Media contacts:
Melanie Webber, mWEBB Communications, (424) 603-4340,
Crystal Hartwell, mWEBB Communications, (714) 987-1016,

[1] The Top Ten Lists represent the top models purchased by the thousands of car buyers who received financing from CarFinance Capital between January 2013 and December 2013.