BANDON, Ore. — Even vehicle shoppers with prime credit ratings are having a tougher time getting their auto loans approved by lenders, CNW Research indicated this morning.

This trouble has hit borrowers across the board for all credit categories. The percentage of all auto loan applications eventually approved by lenders has declined for all three credit categories.

The most significant dip occurred in the subprime approval rating over last year. This approval rating came in at 22.71 percent for the first three quarters of this year, compared with 67.01 percent last year.

And to gain approval, subprime applications had to be shopped through 7.9 institutions versus 4.4 in 2007.

Meanwhile, the prime approval rating was 81.36 percent for the period, compared with 90.3 percent last year. A total of 3.2 auto lenders had to be shopped prior to approval, compared with just 1.8 last year.

For near-prime category, the approval percentage came in 77.42 percent, versus 85.56 percent. The applications had to be sent to 3.8 lenders on average, compared with 2.6 in the previous year.

"The share of applications receiving final approval for an auto loans has dropped for all three credit categories — prime, near-prime and subprime," explained Art Spinella, of CNW Research.

"Even a prime customer is having a significantly harder time getting a loan approval," he added. "And those loans that are approved have to be submitted to more financial institutions."

Breaking out the approval ratings for four states, CNW found:


Prime: 76.34 percent versus 89.46 percent

Near-Prime: 69.21 percent compared with 82.58 percent

Subprime: 20.06 percent, as opposed to 71.28 percent



Prime: 81.58, compared with 90.46 percent

Near-Prime: 77.64 percent, versus 85.39 percent

Subprime: 23.56 percent, as opposed to 74.19 percent



Prime: 79.45 percent, compared with 90.63 percent

Near-Prime: 74.28 percent from 87.57 percent

Subprime: 32.17 percent, versus 75.62 percent



Prime: 78.63 percent from 87.36 percent

Near-Prime: 71.44 percent, compared with 85.92 percent

Subprime: 19.38, as opposed to 70.81 percent


Share by Approval

Prime: 49.62 percent

Near-Prime: 49.87 percent

Subprime: 0.51 percent


Share by Application

Prime: 28.58 percent

Near-Prime: 59.24 percent

Subprime: 12.18 percent


Comparing the first quarter of this year to last, CNW also discovered:

Share of Loan Applications Eventually Approved:

Prime: 89.61 percent, compared with 92.45 percent

Near-Prime: 85.28 percent, as opposed to 87.18 percent

Subprime: 56.77 percent from 67.82 percent


Institutions Shopped before Acceptance:

Prime: 3.1, compared with 1.8

Near-Prime: 3.8, versus 2.4

Subprime: 5.6, as opposed to 4.2


Average Transaction Price:

1Q 2008: $25,983

1Q 2007: $26,174