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Jeeps are used all over the world for things from luxury transport to hard adventure — but they were first developed for the military. The brand name “Jeep” evolved from two terms of military slang. The first was based on a cartoon character that had magic powers to go wherever it wanted; the second is from “G.P.,” which is short for “general purpose” vehicle. Given that Jeep’s tagline is “Go Anywhere. Do Anything.,” both are suitable.
The actual Jeep may not have magic powers beyond its technology, but it definitely holds magic for some owners. According to JeepClubs.org, a directory of enthusiast organizations for the vehicle, there are 178 Jeep clubs around the world.
In this article, we’ll go over the company, its financing, rebates, incentives and leasing, as well as financing options through other lenders.
The first Jeep model was drawn up in 1940 as a response to the U.S. military’s call for a light reconnaissance vehicle. The first Jeeps were called Willys, named after John Willys, the founder of Willys-Overland Motor Co., a direct competitor with Ford. Most people have likely never heard of the company: its finances suffered throughout its existence, and it eventually filed for bankruptcy during the Great Depression. In 1919, only a few years after the company began operating under the Willys-Overland name, the banks that backed the Willys-Overland Motor Company hired Walter P. Chrysler, as a means of protecting their investments.
Through a complicated series of international mergers and acquisitions over the years, today Jeep is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
If you finance through Jeep, you apply to Chrysler Capital, but the actual lender behind it is Santander, which has a B+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Dallas-based Santander is among the biggest providers of auto loans for people with low credit scores. However, it is far from the biggest player in the market. Chase earned $33 billion from auto loan and lease originations in 2017 alone, and its total 2017 assets were $2.5 trillion. Santander’s total assets look more like one year of Chase’s auto origination income, at only $39 billion in December 2017.
A large portion of its business comes from lending to people who have FICO scores below 650. As Chrysler Capital’s website states, “our financing programs provide a high rate of approvals for all types of credit situations.” However, this doesn’t mean you can expect a 0% financing offer if you have a low credit score — but it does mean that customers with lower credit scores have a higher chance of financing through the manufacturer. If you don’t know what your credit score is, you can check it here.
You may find it useful to get a preapproved auto loan before you into the Jeep dealership. Having a preapproved auto loan means you walk into the dealership with an auto loan offer in hand. Even if you don’t ultimately accept that loan, the preapproval gives you an idea of the APR you qualify for and thus gives you greater strength to negotiate. So if the dealership offers you a loan with 7% APR and you have a 3% APR loan preapproval in your pocket, your decision becomes easier. A preapproved auto loan could save you money and help you walk into the dealership with more confidence.
You can read up on other reasons to get a preapproved auto loan, and you can compare potential loan offers here.
To apply for Jeep financing, you’ll need to supply your personal information, including Social Security number and annual income. You will also need to say which model vehicle you’d like, but if you haven’t decided on a vehicle, you can change that later on in the application.
The loan term can go up to 84 months, though taking out an auto loan for that long isn’t recommended.
As with all lenders, a Jeep loan application is sorted into a credit tier; you may receive different APRs, terms and rebate offers based on the tier you’re sorted into. The higher tier you’re in, the better loan offers you’ll receive. If you don’t receive the best loan offer, you can ask your salesperson, the dealership finance manager or the lender representative what it would take to get a tier bump. Reasons you might deserve one could include high income, low debt, positive credit history and the size of the down payment you’re giving.
Ask the person, too, if it would be worth it to get a tier bump. Sometimes different financing programs apply to different sets of credit tiers. For example, the best financing deals might be offered to people who are in credit tiers one and two, so bumping up one tier might not make a difference — but it doesn’t hurt to ask. You could also discover that putting more money down would bump you up two credit tiers and make a big difference in your financing options. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can change things to your advantage.
Chrysler offers various rebates and incentives on new Jeeps, but be sure to look up which ones are available on the vehicle you want. Here are the main types of Jeep rebates and incentives, and their general requirements:
This list may not be all-inclusive. The time of year and the vehicle models these rebates and incentives apply to may change often. Check with a Jeep dealer or the Jeep website for more information.
Jeep leases range from 24 to 48 months. Standard mileage options are 10,000 to 15,000 miles annually. When the lease ends, you could lease a new car, buy the car you’ve been leasing or buy a different car.
Leasing usually keeps your monthly payments lower than buying, which means you could lease a more expensive vehicle than you could typically afford to purchase. Leasing is also useful for those who like to get a new vehicle every few years and never worry about the warranty running out. However, there are limitations. You usually have to have great credit to lease a car and if you go over the miles limit or the vehicle has excess wear, you could pay fees.
Not sure if it’s right for you? You can check out this guide on whether to lease or buy.
When you’re in the market for a new Jeep, don’t forget that you’re also in the market for Jeep financing. Just as you probably wouldn’t drive only one car before buying it, don’t apply to only one lender. Consider a few lenders, such as your bank or credit union, and compare offers to see which is the best for you. You might decide on the one with the lowest monthly payment or the one with the lowest APR, but you wouldn’t be able to compare them if you didn’t apply for them.
When you apply for a loan, you don’t have to accept the offer the lender returns. You usually have 30 days to accept it and, if you don’t want it, you don’t have to do anything. Applying to one lender won’t hurt your credit score any more than if you applied to several within a 14-day window. Getting banks to compete for your business is a good thing.
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