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Honda Warns Against ‘Stupid’ Auto Loans Driving U.S. Sales Gains

Workers unload a truck carrying new Honda automobiles at a dealership in Queens, New York.

Workers unload a truck carrying new Honda automobiles at a dealership in Queens, New York.

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
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A top U.S. executive at Honda Motor Co. said competitors are doing “stupid things” to boost auto sales, including making seven-year-long car loans that harm buyers.

Automakers are increasingly selling vehicles with 84-month loans that reduce monthly payments while making it tougher to repay faster than cars lose value, John Mendel, Honda’s U.S. sales chief, said in an interview. The Tokyo-based company will avoid longer-term loans even as Nissan Motor Co. tries to supplant it as the fifth-biggest automaker in the U.S., he said.