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WASHINGTON – Consumers may be buying more new vehicles, but the characteristics of their loans have changed. According to the Consumer Bankers Association’s annual automotive finance study, last year 45% of new vehicle loans had terms of more than 60 months, up from 40% in 2003. In 2000 only a little more than a fifth of loans had terms of more than 60 months. National Automobile Dealers Association Chief Economist Paul Taylor says the trend among consumers for the past seven years were for longer vehicle terms. That’s happened, he said, because vehicles are increasingly durable, allowing buyers to keep them longer. In addition, he says low interest rates have also contributed to longer loans. The CBA study also showed that more consumers are making loan payments on time – last year, consumer payments on 1.16% of study participants’ loans were 30 days or more past due. In 2002, 2.5% of loans were delinquent.

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