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Auto Lending Eases for Buyers With Weak Credit, Experian Says

New-vehicle buyers with weaker credit scores are having an easier time getting credit, according to researcher Experian Automotive.

Buyers whose credit is nonprime or worse accounted for 22 percent of the new-vehicle financing market in the second quarter, up from 18 percent a year earlier, Costa Mesa, California-based Experian said today in an e-mailed report.

Banks led the increase by boosting lending to buyers with less than prime credit scores by 21 percent, Experian said. Automakers’ captive lenders expanded loans to those buyers by 7.9 percent, the researcher said.

Tighter lending helped slow U.S. auto sales to 10.4 million deliveries in 2009, the lowest annual total since 1982. Deliveries rebounded to 11.6 million last year and ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12.5 million through the first half, according to Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Auto loans with payments that were at least 30 days overdue fell to 2.59 percent in the three months ending June 30, from 2.89 percent a year earlier, Experian said. Delinquent loans of at least 60 days fell to 0.6 percent, from 0.71 percent, the researcher said.

Experian defines nonprime borrowers as having a Vantage score of 700 or below. VantageScore Solutions LLC combines data from consumer-credit raters Experian, Equifax Inc. and TransUnion LLC, according to its website.

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