Car dealers have been seeing record numbers of shoppers - but loan delinquencies are rising, too.
More expensive loans aren’t the only reason for automakers to worry, industry analysts are warning. There are signs that more consumers are having trouble handling the loans they’ve already taken out.
With a record number of Americans buying new vehicles last year, lenders logged a record amount of debt on their books. And a growing number of those buyers are falling behind on payments, according to Experian Automotive. While 30-day delinquencies are actually down, the number of motorists two months behind on payments grew sharply.
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“Given that we’ve seen an increase in loans to subprime and deep-subprime consumers, it’s natural to see a slight uptick,” explained Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive finance for Experian. “Although not yet a cause for concern, the industry should keep an eye on this metric to see how it trends in the quarters to come.”