Finance companies still aren’t shying away from giving contracts to subprime consumers based on the fourth-quarter information from Experian Automotive.
According to its latest State of the Automotive Finance Market report, Experian highlighted today that financing became easier to obtain in Q4 2013, as the average credit scores for both new leases and loans decreased from the previous year. The average credit score for a new-vehicle lease dropped 16 points to 719 in Q4 2013 from 735 during the previous year.
The average credit score for new vehicle loans, however, saw a slightly smaller decrease year-over-year, dropping from 724 in Q4 2012 to 715 in Q4 2013.
Analysts determined market share for nonprime, subprime and deep subprime new vehicle loans also rose slightly in Q4 2013 to 34.1 percent from 32.8 percent in Q4 2012.
For used vehicles, Experian noted nonprime, subprime and deep subprime loans accounted for 62.8 percent of all loans, down 1.6 percent from 63.8 percent in Q4 2012.
“We are still seeing remarkable stability in the automotive finance industry, even as lenders continue to ease slightly on credit standards to provide loans and leases,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive credit for Experian Automotive. “What makes this good news for consumers is that the more credit-challenged car shoppers who need a vehicle may find that they have more financing options to choose from and can more easily shop around for the best rates and terms.”
As Zabritski referenced, more consumers are choosing to lease vehicles, bringing the share of new vehicles financed with a lease to its highest level since the company began publically reporting the data in 2006.
Experian found that 28.4 percent of all new vehicles financed were leases in Q4 2013, up from 24.8 percent the previous year.
“Leasing continues to grow in popularity among car shoppers, especially those hoping to stay within a strict monthly budget,” Zabritski said. “Our analysis this quarter showed that the average monthly lease payment was $51 lower than the average loan payment, which can make a big difference to consumers trying to stretch their dollar.”
To be exact, Experian discovered the average monthly payment for a new-model loan came in at $471 in Q4 while the monthly commitment to a new-vehicle lease came in at $420.
Other findings from the report showed the average amount financed for a new vehicle was $27,430 in Q4 2013, up from $26,691 in Q4 2012. This marked the highest average loan amount for a new vehicle since 2008 and the first time the amount has exceeded $27,000.
Additionally, the average loan amount for a used vehicle during the quarter was $17,974, up $345 from the previous year, which was also a record-high since 2008.
In other trends:
• Average monthly loan payments for used vehicles were up from $348 in Q4 2012 to $352 in Q4 2013.
• New-vehicle interest rates were up to 4.37 percent in Q4 2013 from 4.36 percent in Q4 2012.
• Used-vehicle interest rates were up to 8.71 percent in Q4 2013 from 8.48 percent in Q4 2012.
• The average credit score for a used vehicle loan rose from 644 in Q4 2012 to 646 in Q4 2013.