Auto delinquencies to remain low in 2012

Heading into the first part of the new year, the percentage of consumers who don't make their car payments on time will continue to diminish, according to a new report.

Credit bureau TransUnion forecasts that in the first half of 2012, auto loans that are more than 60 days past due will decrease but may then rise to 0.51 percent in the last two quarters.

Peter Turek, automotive vice president for TransUnion's financial services business unit, said the improving economy is part of the reason for the low level of delinquencies.

"Auto loans have performed quite well since the beginning of 2010 and we expect delinquencies to remain relatively low throughout 2012 as the gradual recovery in the economy will benefit both lenders and consumers," said Turek.

However, he added that because the economy has been so tenuous, financial difficulties experienced by consumers could cause delinquency rates to increase.

TransUnion reports that over the past two years, auto loans have grown considerably. This may suggest that consumers have the kinds of credit scores that lenders favor when approving  loan requests.