At 14.6 million, the total number of auto loan originations from January to August 2012 is at its highest mark since 2007, according to Equifax.
Total outstanding auto loan balances through October was more than $770 billion, which is an increase of 11% since auto loan balances bottomed out in April 2011, Equifax's National Consumer Credit Trends Report showed.
Similarly, the total number of existing auto loans through October was more than 58 million, which represents a 33-month high, according to Equifax.
The most current data also showed the number of new auto loans funded by banks, savings and loans or credit unions reached 984,300 in August, a seven-year high for that month, the report noted.
Equifax said the average loan amount of $19,492 for the month of August stood at a six-year high and is only exceeded by $20,291, which was the average in 2006.
The decreasing amount of write-offs and severely derogative accounts paired with corresponding increases in the numbers of total originations and loan sizes are among the factors that are driving consistent growth in the auto industry, said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews-Cutts.
“Sustained recent consumer demand for auto leasing, financing and purchase has driven a return of this portfolio to pre-recession numbers more rapidly than any other lending sector,” Crews-Cutts noted.