You see the ads on TV for a certified pre-owned Nissan Versa for only $289/month. It sounds affordable and the car's only a couple of years from being new. The commercials have happy customers driving out with their shiny new (to them) car.
You know what they won't show you on TV? When you're tired of driving that car after two years and go to trade it in and are informed that you still owe over $11,000 on a car that's only worth $4,500 as a trade-in. you've been driving the same car for two years and now you're stuck driving it for four more before you'll have it paid off. Even if you make it to the end of the six years, you'll have paid $20,808 over that time for a car that had a sticker price of around $13,000.
72-month (and longer) loans get customers stuck upside-down and paying thousands of dollars more in interest than they imagined. Sure the interest rates and payments are low, but by financing for so many years they end up being more expensive than buying a car from somewhere like Consolidated Auto Sales.
The finance company we work with, Family Loan Company, is the oldest auto finance company in Arizona. They finance cars and trucks for between 24 and 36 months so our customers are able to have a car paid off and trade into something newer in just a couple of years. Customers build up their credit score and equity in their cars without being stuck for six years in the same vehicle. Sure, Family Loan Company doesn't make as much in interest off of a shorter-term loan, but they build loyalty with repeat customers who appreciate not being taken advantage of.