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Late car loan payments stay low

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

The number of consumers who are considered delinquent on their car loan payments is expected to decrease early next year and then rise slightly, ending 2012 at the same rate as this year, according to TransUnion. Delinquent auto loan payments are defined as car payments that are 60 or more days past due.

TransUnion's annual national auto delinquency forecast shows that delinquencies have decreased dramatically since peaking in late 2008 from 0.86 percent to 0.51 percent for 2011. Delinquencies are expected to remain level at 0.51 percent by the end of 2012 also.

This is good news for consumers aiming to buy a car in the near future, since it means credit will continue to loosen, which might not have been the case with the recent increase in auto loans. "With auto loan originations increasing dramatically in the last few years, one cause for concern is that any dramatic economic pressures -- like we experienced during the last recession -- could elevate delinquency levels since missed payments often occur early on in the life of the loan," said Peter Turek, automotive vice president at TransUnion, in the report.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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