i was in the same boat when i bought my camaro.
when i first ordered they said i had no problem with my credit and they approved me to put a deposit down on my car.
when i went to pick it up, they gave me the runaround saying eventhough my credit score and income are good, there just isn't enough credit history and the bank is going to need a co-signer.
so i asked my dad to co-sign with me, he had no problem cuz he knew i was able to make the payments. so he co-signs, the financial guy at the dealership goes and runs the numbers, comes back and says the bank is only approving you for this much, so you have to put more down.
i got pissed! i told him, you guys said it was no problem when i came in to order and you ran my credit, now all this
! i told him he can take that extra money you want me to put down out of that little "market adjustment" you guys put on the car.
the manager got involved and he basically said he did not care if he sold it to me today or if i walked away, he wasn't moving the price cuz the car was fresh off the line and he could easily sell it by the end of the week to someone else. i think he preferred me to walk away so he could pocket my $2000 deposit!
i wasn't going to wait another 3-4 months for another one from a different dealership so i dipped into the modifications fund and took the car home that day with my middle finger high in the air
at the stealership.
to this day i wish i woulda known about this site just 3 months earlier, i would have ordered from one of our dealership sponsors, probably Eric since he is closest location to me, and saved a few bucks at the same time.
but back to your other questions, you might wanna try a different bank, some are more lenient than others. but with these financial times, it is probably easier just to get a co-signer.
student loans ruin your credit history, they f***'d mine up. they are reported to credit bureau's and defer the payments until you graduate, well that loan stays "maxed out" on your credit report until you start paying for it. and even if you start paying early, your first payments only pay 100% of the interest the loan has accrued since you got it. so eventhough your making payments, your loan amount has not budged until you pay off the accrued interest.
once you get one car loan payed off, student loans under control, and low to zero credit card balances on your credit history, i think the banks will be more gentle in the future. what they consider "new credit" doesn't go away until you have at least 7 years of good credit.
i've already paid off a lot of my loans in just under a year by paying double the minimum. sure i could use that extra $1000 each month and put it towards more performance stuff or wheels, but i'd rather pay the car and student loans off sooner rather than waste money paying more interest later.