Lending, Leasing Hit Several Records in First Quarter | Auto Finance News | Auto Finance News

Lending, Leasing Hit Several Records in First Quarter

canstockphoto15493137Auto loans and leases hit several new highs in the first quarter, all related to affordability, in a word.

Records included lease penetration, the highest-ever average loan term, plus new highs for the average amount financed and the highest average monthly loan payment, according to Experian Automotive, which released the market data today.

One of the few payment-related statistics that fell in the first quarter was the average new-vehicle lease payment. That helps explain the increase in lease penetration. The average lease payment was $405, down from $412 a year ago. Lease penetration hit a new high of about 26.7% of new-vehicle volume in the first quarter, up 1.1 percentage points from a year ago.

Melinda Zabritski, Experian senior director of automotive finance, said consumers are trying to keep monthly payments manageable, “while allowing them to purchase the vehicles they need without having to break the bank.”

So far this year, consumers seem to be managing. Through the first quarter, year-to-date auto sales were just under 4 million cars and light trucks, an increase of 5.6% from the first quarter of 2014, according to AutoData Corp.

Experian said the average new-vehicle term was 67 months in the first quarter, up from 66 a year earlier. The average used-vehicle term was 62 months, also up one month. The greatest increase in the quarter was for loans — to 84 months from 73, Experian said.

The average new-vehicle amount financed was $28,711, up $1,099 from a year ago. For used vehicles, the average was $18,213, $286 higher. The average monthly payment for new-vehicle loans was a record $488 vs. $474 a year ago. Meanwhile, the average monthly payment for used vehicles was $355, as composed to $352. All this points to expanding auto loan outstandings for the industry.

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