Toyota Financial Services Moving to Plano, Texas

Toyota Financial Services, based in Torrance, California, is all set to merge headquarters along with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, and Toyota Motor North America in Plano, Texas.

The company will offer relocation and retention packages to approximately 1,000 of it’s employees “in good standing” at the California headquarters. 

In response to the anticipated $300 million investment Toyota will make in the state and the final 4,000 strong employee force, the state of Texas has offered Toyota a $40 million investment through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF). 

Toyota has stated that the move is not motivated by tax incentives, but rather a desire to consolidate with the rest of the company.

TFS associates in regional, sales offices as well as service centers throughout California, and Toyota Financial Savings Bank in Henderson, NV will not relocate. The majority of relocations is expected to take place in 2017, by which time the new headquarters will be fully operational.

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Can Being An Authorized User Really Boost Your Credit Score?

One of the simplest ways to boost a person’s credit score is to be added as an authorized user on the credit card account of a responsible card holder. Responsible means someone who has never had a late payment, over-the-limit fee, or returned check fee on their account. Preferably, the balance on the account will be less than 25 percent of the credit limit as well. It is simple if…well, it isn’t so simple. Here are a few things that you and the cardholder may want to consider before becoming an authorized user.

Things to Consider Before “Piggybacking” on Another’s Credit

You will only receive a boost to your credit score if a separate card is issued in your name.

The primary cardholder is the only one who will be responsible for paying back the balance as far as the credit card issuer is concerned. Since the additional card will be mailed to the primary cardholder’s address, if you have doubts about the responsibility of the authorized user, do not give them the card. That way they can boost their score and you do not have any risk to worry about.

FICO does look at authorized users when building a credit score, but lenders may not. So, after your score has gained a little ground, you may want to seek a credit card account of your own. Lenders recognize all credit card accounts if they are in your name.

Some credit repair companies will try to convince you that ”piggybacking” on a stranger’s account is a good idea if you cannot find anyone willing to add you as an authorized user. FICO’s website says this about piggybacking:

”To protect lenders and honest consumers, the FICO 8 formula substantially reduces any benefit of so-called tradeline renting. That’s a credit repair practice that entices consumers into being added to a stranger’s credit account in order to misrepresent their credit risk to lenders.”

Essentially, FICO will ignore a piggyback account.

Keep in mind that every habit of the primary cardholder becomes your habit in the eyes of the credit reporting agencies. Their missed payment is your missed payment, etc. Still, if you become an authorized user on the credit card account of a responsible person, you will see a boost to your credit score. That boost may not be significant enough to help you get a car loan or a mortgage, but it should be enough to help you get a credit card account of your own.

Gas And Oil Company Subsidies Outweigh Corporate Income Tax?

Some actions of the big oil and gas companies have been getting some attention of late. We all have to pay our due in taxes, so the question is why do the oil and gas companies think they don’t? Over the past few years it has come into light that these companies have been receiving subsidies. The numbers are staggering, given the amount of money they take in yearly verses the amount they actually pay in their taxes. In fact, these companies ended up paying around $32 million in taxes, when, given the 35% corporate income tax rate, they should have paid around $60 billion! 

It is interesting to know that the rest of tax payers continue to pay and do what we have to do, and yet these big companies do not. They have found ways to avoid having to pay what is due. Getting subsidies, and working their way around the government. I believe this should grab the attention of our government and show them it is not right they take so much, and give less back. There is no reason they should be allowed to take advantage in such a way to make the rest of us pay.

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Human Error at Fault in 90% of Road Accidents

This article discusses the large percentage of car accidents (90% to be exact) that are actually caused by human error. This means that a large portion of car accidents are due to the drivers lack of driving ability or failure to pay attention. This problem calls for a larger push to increase the performance abilities of drivers in order to make drivers more aware of their environment. The article goes on to back up the severity of these claims by supporting its argument with statistical data. One example of this data is that, according to the chairman of the International Organization for Road Accident Prevention, 1.3 million deaths occur internationally every year due to car accidents on the road. Additionally, the number of deaths from traffic accidents is projected to rise 67% from 2000 to 2020, and specifically 144% in the Southeast Asia. The article stresses that since this is a man-made problem, it is solvable and that if enough initiative and action is taken, then we can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents.

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What is the Maximum Rate for a Car Loan in Texas?

According to the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Texas the maximum rate for a car loan in Texas is 18 percent. That rate is usually reserved for a borrower who has bad credit. Let’s have a look at what an interest rate of 18 percent does to a loan balance.

Who Faces the Highest Rates?

Usually, the borrowers who are facing the highest interest rates are those who have bad credit. Not just bad credit in general, but have been irresponsible with previous car loans. The major providers of credit scores have targeted scores…a specific score for a mortgage, another for credit cards, and one for auto loans. If you have a history of late payments or a repossession, your auto specific credit score could be as much as 120 points lower than your general credit score.

Total Interest Paid

The average cost of a new car in the United States is $30,000. If you have to pay the maximum rate of 18 percent on that amount for just six years you will pay a total of $19,264.83 in interest. Even if you choose to buy an less expensive model, say a Kia Rio, that retails for around $15,000 you will pay $9,632.41 in total interest over the life of a six year loan.

What Can Be Done

You have two options if you are facing an interest rate that seems too high. First, you can improve your credit. You cannot go back and undo past mistakes, but you can let them fade. Late payments and repossession may stay on your credit report for seven years, but their impact on your credit score lessens over time. While you are waiting for these past infractions to fade, why not get a credit card? Even if you have to get a secured card, your score will improve if you make your payments on time and keep your balance under thirty percent of the credit limit.

Your second option is to shop around for a better loan offer. Granted, if you have bad credit, you will have to skip large banks and some credit unions. That does not mean you have to accept the first offer you get. There are many specialty lenders who are willing to offer you a loan. Many of them operate online only, making your search even easier. Go here to apply online–today!

What Are The Best Used Car Dealers in Houston?

Buying a used car can be a tricky experience. Everyone is sure that the dealership is out to stick them with a lemon of some kind or another. That makes the reputation of the dealership all the more important. Here at Longhorn Auto Finance, we set out to discover which Houston-area dealers had the happiest clients last year. We evaluated reviews from leading sources such as Yelp and BBB, in order to provide an objective viewpoint. Here are the three best used car dealers in the Houston area based on customer feedback.

South Loop Hyundai
8811 the Lakes at 610 Drive
Houston, TX 77054

Expo Motor Cars
11655 North Fwy
Houston, TX 77060

AutoNation Family of Dealerships
Multiple locations along the Gulf Fwy.

Each of these dealerships has received multiple positive reviews from customers in the last 12 months. Keep in mind that a positive review is no guarantee of your experience. Be sure to inspect the car you are interested in. If you do not know what to look for, take the vehicle to an independent mechanic.

Used Car Budgeting: Your Responsibility

Although these dealers are known for their happy customers, the responsibility to budget appropriately for your new vehicle rests largely–if not solely–on your own shoulders. Spending more than you should places undue strain on your finances, and causes you stress–and who needs more of that?

A good rule of thumb is to purchase a vehicle that costs a certain percentage of your annual income. For instance, spending 15-25% of what you make in a year on a car is reasonable. Spending up to 30% is probably the maximum you should invest. If you are financing your vehicle, you want your monthly payments to account for no more than 10% of your monthly income, and you want to keep your finance term as short as possible. Anything less than 60 months is sensible. If you want to learn more about financing a car in Houston, go here.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be happy with your purchase–and so will your bank account.

How to Tell if a Car is Stolen?

Are in the market for a used car? If you are, and especially if you are planning to purchase your vehicle from a private seller, then you need to check whether it’s stolen or not.

Checking with the National Insurance Crime Bureau

Of course, there is no way to definitively tell whether a car is stolen or not just by looking at it. Fortunately, you do not necessarily have to sell out a lot of money for a vehicle history report. The insurance companies around the country have gotten together and created a database of vehicles that have been stolen, but not recovered. If you go to the National Insurance Crime Bureau website (, you can enter the VIN of any vehicle for a free report. BE SURE TO READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE CAREFULLY. The site also allows you to see if the vehicle has ever had a salvage title. The site says that:

”NICB’s VINCheck is a service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB members.”

That statement reveals the one weakness of the site… its database only includes titles reported by cooperating members. While that is only a slight weakness, it still leaves the possibility that a few vehicles may slip through the cracks. Another reliable site is’s stolen car search. This is not a government affiliated site, but it has been around for a long time and there is a lot of good information available for free.

Red Flags That May Indicate a Stolen Vehicle

While there is no way to tell if a car is stolen just by looking at it, there are a few signs that should tip you off that there is something fishy about a car, though.

  • The VIN is altered or disguised in any way.
  • The VIN does not match the title.
  • The title has been lost.
  • The price is absurdly low.
  • The seller only accepts cash, but is not willing to let you seek financing.
  • The seller is nervous at all times and seems in a great hurry to sell.
  • The seller is not willing to accompany you to a notary public to transfer the title.

Any of these should raise a flag for you. You may have the “fever” for the car you’re considering, but you have to keep your wits about you and be prudent, especially in this era of Craigslist scams. It may turn out to be a false negative, but you have to be sure before spending your hard-earned cash.


Do Hands-Free Devices Make Driving Safer?

In an age where cell phones cause many wrecks everyday, people are starting to use hands-free devices as safe alternatives. Are they really any safer though? Studies have shown that many people who drive and talk on hands-free devices are still more likely to wreck their vehicles or cause another person to get into a wreck.

25% of Hands-Free Speakers Fail Field Sobriety Test

For a person to drive totally safe, their full attention needs to be focused on the road as they drive. Recently, users of hands free devices were asked to perform in a field sobriety test by researchers at Touro University in Vallejo, California. Some users wore a bluetooth and talked, while others just wore the device. For the users who were talking, nearly one fourth failed the test. These results reinforce the view that people should not talk and drive, whether they are using a hands free device or not. Addition information is needed on the issue before laws can be enacted, but hopefully this problem will be taken care of in the future.

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Just How Revolutionary is the New Toyota Hydrogen Car?

Some are saying that Toyota’s FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) Concept car is the automobile that will change the world when it hits dealership floors in two more years. This buzz is due to from where it gets its power:  a hydrogen fuel cell.  Specifically, a pair of 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks.

Being powered by a hydrogen fuel cell means that the electric car will not need a heavy, potentially dangerous, and ever costly battery pack, because it will use hydrogen to generate electricity. If it works, this new technology will indeed be revolutionary since a hydrogen fuel cell system’s emissions are only water vapor. The water vapor is created when the energy within the hydrogen oxidizes it to make electricity. Hydrogen is made from natural gas, a resource that is both abundant and cheap.

Additionally, and unlike a pure EV’s like the Nissan Leaf, range anxiety should not be an issue.  Toyota is claiming it will have a range of 300 miles.  Of course, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny for this piece of automotive futurism: $50,000 to $100,000. That sounds like a lot, but it puts it right in competition with the Tesla Model S, which has been outselling all other cars among America’s wealthiest citizens.

Are Fuel Cells “Fool” Cells?

There are big skeptics, however. Perhaps the most vocal has been Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has stated:

“Fuel cells should be renamed ‘fool cells,’ they are so stupid.  You could take best case of a fuel cell, theoretically the best case, and it does not compete with lithium-ion cells today. And lithium-ion cells are far from their optimum”

Mr. Musk certainly knows his science, captaining our nation’s first successful new automaker in decades, but as this Bloomberg article points out, Toyota’s 1997 decision to produce the world’s first mass-market hybrid was written off as foolish endeavor by many. Of course, Toyota showed the critics by selling nearly 4 million Priuses.

South Leading the Way in Auto Industry Recovery

It appears that the southern region of the country has been leading the nation when it comes to owing money on their cars and trucks. Eight out of the top ten metropolitan areas with the most auto loan debt per household are in the southern portion of the United States. According to a recent study conducted by, Shreveport Louisiana was found to have, on average, $18,603 in auto debt per household. Shreveport is in good company:  New Orleans (LA), Houston (TX), Little Rock-Pinebuff (AR), San Antonio (TX), Lafayette (LA), New York (NY), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (FL), Las Vegas (NV), and Wilkes Barre-Scranton (PA) have rounded out the top ten cities. With such a large number of cities in the Heart of Dixie accumulating auto debt, the south has taken the reins in leading the country through the economic recovery of the auto industry.

Why has the southern US been accumulating more debt on their autos compared to the rest of the country? The reason, to a great degree, is due to simple economics. According to government figures obtained by, the southern half of the United States has weathered the economic crisis better than the rest of the country. The south has had the advantage of a relatively steady employment rate throughout the national recession. These employment rates have continued to increase throughout the recent summer months. Louisiana in particular has added jobs at a higher rate compared to the rest of the nation. Steady employment and relatively stable household income means that the South now has a little extra spending money.

In addition to increased volume in auto loans, delinquencies on existing loans have been decreasing over the past few months. Lower default rates and increased auto loan balances is considered welcome news for the auto industry. The US auto industry took a hard hit during the recent financial recession. Banks were unwilling or unable to loan out large amounts of money to the public for the financing of auto purchases. Auto companies in turn were unable to sell their vehicles which led to a backlog of auto inventory. With banks now loosening credit restrictions and lending money more often, people have started to take advantage of the current low interest rates and started purchasing new vehicles. The Heart of Dixie has become a shining example of how the American spirit will always prevail in challenging times.

Of course, if you live in the #2 city of Houston and need to finance a car, be sure to check out our Houston page for more information.

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