The average new-vehicle interest rate sunk to a six-month low in July but is still up near 2009 recession levels, according to Edmunds.
"Interest rates have been on the upward trajectory this year," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. "It was going to have to go up at some point. This year, it's doing it."
In July, the average interest rate on a new vehicle was 4.77 percent, about 1 percentage point lower than in July 2009. The highest rate so far this year was 5.04 percent in May.
Still, the average interest rate in July fell from months earlier as automakers advertised 0 percent finance deals, Edmunds said. About 11 percent of car buyers who financed their vehicles got a 0 percent deal, up from 9.47 percent in June of this year and from 10.2 percent in July 2016.
"You still have a lot of automakers that are offering some sort of subsidy, but whether not consumers qualify is the issue, too," Caldwell told Automotive News.
Brands that have an older customer base tend to give more 0 percent financing deals because their customer demographic often has better credit and qualifies for the offer, Caldwell said.
"Zero-percent finance deals are common in the summer, but car buyers can save even more this year," Caldwell said in a statement. The "higher [average] interest rates make zero-percent financing a big carrot for dealers seeking to lure car shoppers."
She added: "In today's declining market, every sale counts. We anticipate automakers will continue to ramp up zero-percent finance offers as we get deeper into the summer sell-down season."