SAN FRANCISCO (1/21/15)--The total balance of auto-loans outstanding ratcheted up to $975 billion in December, an all-time high, according to a recent report by Equifax.
At nearly $1 trillion, auto-loan balances make up roughly one-third of all non-mortgage consumer debt, the report found. This marks an all-time high and also a 9.3% annual jump.
Further, the total number of auto-loans outstanding climbed to nearly 71 million, a 6.5% year-over-year jump.
"The automobile industry had a strong year in 2014, selling more than 16.4 million new cars," said Dennis Carlson, Equifax deputy chief economist, who added that despite an increase in write-offs, delinquencies have hovered near record lows.
"Consumers are excited about both the quality and craftsmanship of the vehicles available today as well as the great financing available," Carlson added. "The improving economic situation has finally afforded consumers the opportunity to rekindle their love affair with the automobile."
Additional highlights from the report:
It appears Equifax believes 2015 will be a positive year for auto lending as well.
"2015 is going to be an even more revved up year for the industry ... as we enter the New Year with a market full of eager-to-buy consumers and lenders who are armed with a more complete view of consumers' financials than ever before," Carlson said.