Seems like the same old stuff, but it just keeps getting worse!

Barrett Emke for The Wall Street Journal
Oct. 1, 2019 10:46 am ET

2009 - 2019

A third of new-car buyers who trade in their cars roll debt from old vehicles into their new loans, according to car-shopping site Edmunds. That is up from about a quarter before the financial crisis.

Americans have been borrowing to buy their cars for decades, but auto debt has swelled since the financial crisis. U.S. consumers held a record $1.3 trillion of debt tied to their cars at the end of June, according to the Federal Reserve, up from about $740 billion a decade earlier.

Just 18% of U.S. households had enough liquid assets to cover the cost of a new car, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of 2016 data from the Fedís triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, a proportion that hasnít changed much in recent years.

Even a conservative car loan often wonít do it. The median-income U.S. household with a four-year loan, 20% down and a payment under 10% of gross incomeóa standard budgetócould afford a car worth $18,390, excluding taxes