Even as auto loan debt has risen over the past year, consumers are generally managing to stay current on their payments.
According to TransUnion’s Industry Insights Report, the national auto loan delinquency rate, which is the percentage of accounts 60 or more days past due, remained relatively flat year over year, moving from 0.79% in the second quarter of 2012 to 0.80% in the second quarter of 2013.
Meanwhile, average auto loan balances continued to increase, jumping more than 4% between Q2 2012 ($12,875) and Q2 2013 ($13,435).
“It’s encouraging to see consumers take on more auto debt while delinquencies remain low. Consumers clearly are more confident in managing additional debt,” said Peter Turek, vice president of automotive for TransUnion.
The states with the highest auto loan delinquencies in the second quarter were Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama, TransUnion said. During the same period, North Dakota, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington had the lowest delinquent loans.
While subprime borrower debt increased more than 7% in the last year, delinquency levels for this segment remained about the same, moving from 4.94% in Q2 2012 to 5.02% in Q2 2013, according to TransUnion.
As a percentage of borrowers, the subprime group did not change from last year, still constituting 14.9% of all new accounts.
“This is a positive sign since increased balances for the subprime group indicate that they are receiving new loans,” Turek said.
He added, “The fact that the increase in delinquencies is only a minor one is especially important, as we often find that borrowers who have problems making payments do so within the first year of a loan.”
Turek said TransUnion expects to see auto loan volumes rise in line with overall auto sales and other demand drivers such as replacement of older vehicles and improving employment numbers.