Buyers with less than perfect credit might want to take advantage of a special type of used car known as a program vehicle or executive car.

Buying a Program Car

Most borrowers with bad credit will choose to finance a used car because they're more affordable. But even in this case buyers can be given choices. In addition to regular used cars as well as certified used cars that come with a manufacturer-backed extended service contract, there's also a third type of used car.

Is Buying a Program Car a Good Deal

What is a Program or Executive Car?

Called program, factory executive or "brass hat" vehicles, these are used cars that have been owned by the manufacturer and either leased or provided to executives and other employees for a very short term. In most cases, these vehicles have been driven for 6-12 months and have less than 10,000 miles on them. And like buying a demonstrator car, program cars are fairly rare to find.

Unlike regular used cars or even certified used cars, however, neither Kelley Blue Book nor NADA Guide list used car values for program cars mainly because, unlike used and certified vehicles there aren't a lot of them out there. Since these vehicles will still have at least a portion of the manufacturer's new car warranty, a good place to begin might be a value somewhere between a used car and a certified used car.

But a word of caution: some dealers also classify rental cars as program cars. These vehicles should be easy to identify, as most will have more than 10,000 miles. But like any used vehicle, buyers should request a vehicle history report on any car they are considering (if it's truly a program car, the manufacturer will be listed on the VHR). If the vehicle history report is clean, then the next step before signing on the dotted line is to have it inspected by an ASE Certified Master Mechanic as well as a frame specialist to make sure there is no hidden damage.

The Bottom Line

Although there typically aren't many of them available, executive-driven program cars offer a third viable option for credit- challenged borrowers wishing to finance a slightly used car. Buyers should be sure to verify this with a vehicle history report as well as have any vehicle they're considering buying inspected by an ASE Certified Master Mechanic as well as a frame specialist.

One more tip: Auto Credit Express matches applicants with auto credit issues to dealers that can offer them their best chances for approved car loans.

So if you're ready to establish your car credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.