Latest Equifax Auto Credit Trends Illustrate Rising Subprime Activity

A few notes on subprime loan origination and balance activity:

Subprime auto loan originations have a corresponding total balance of $7.07 billion, a 5.3% increase year-over-year.

The average subprime loan amount was $18,934. This is a 5.0% increase compared to January 2018.

 

Auto Loan Originations Observations through January 2019 reported as of March 2019:

  • 1.78 million auto loans, totaling $41.3 billion, have been originated year-to-date. This is a 0.8% increase in accounts and a 2.8% increase in balances over this time last year.
  • Auto loans represent 86.5% of all auto account originations and 89.5% of auto origination balances YTD.
  • 379,100 auto loans have been originated YTD to consumers with a VantageScore® 3.0 credit score below 620. These are generally considered subprime accounts. This is a 1.9% increase from January 2018. These newly-issued loans have a corresponding total balance of $7.07 billion, a 5.3% increase year-over-year.
  • Through January, 21.3% of auto loans were issued to consumers with a subprime credit score, and they accounted for 17.1% of origination balances. In 2018 YTD the account share was 20.7% and balance share was 16.4%.
  • The average origination loan amount for all auto loans issued in January 2019 was $23,464. This is a 3.3% increase over January 2018. The average subprime loan amount was $18,934. This is a 5.0% increase compared to January 2018.

 

Auto Lease Originations Observations through January 2019 reported as of March 2019:

  • 279.4 thousand auto leases, totaling $4.8 billion, have been originated year-to-date. This is a 3.4% decrease in accounts and a 3.0% increase in balances, from this time last year. Auto leases accounted for 13.6% of all auto accounts originated through January, and 10.5% of balances.
  • 25,000 auto leases have been originated YTD to consumers with a VantageScore® 3.0 credit score below 620. These are generally considered subprime accounts. This is a 3.3% decrease from January 2018. These newly-issued leases have a corresponding total balance of $462.1 million, a 4.6% increase year-over-year.
  • Through January, 8.9% of auto leases were issued to consumers with a subprime credit score. Through January 2018 the share was the same.
  • The average origination balance for all auto leases issued in January 2019 was $17,137. This is a 5.7% increase from January 2018. The average subprime lease amount was $18,150, a 6.3% increase over a year ago. Note that lease origination values reflect the contract amounts only and exclude expected vehicle residual values.

 

"While subprime origination activity and balances remain steady and in check, the data is showing an increase entering the year," said Jennifer Reid, Equifax’s vice president of Automotive Marketing and Strategy. "Prices on new cars and trucks continue to rise, but I think we're seeing more evidence through subprime numbers that there is continued interest and activity in used vehicles for 2019. We anticipate this will persist in the coming months."

 

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