There’s a reason cars can symbolize the American dream. In most places in the U.S., a vehicle doesn’t just open up access to new destinations, but to better economic opportunities.
But even as the American dream has become increasingly elusive—and perhaps because it has become so—Americans cling to their vehicle-owning aspirations. They are taking out car loans at record levels—despite high interest rates. And many are not able to maintain timely monthly payments, driving up delinquency rates.