Subprime auto loans rise in third quarter

A new report indicates that auto lenders are increasing the number of loans they make available to consumers whose credit is less than stellar.

According to Experian Automotive, nearly 22 percent of all new vehicles in the third quarter in the third quarter of 2011 were sold to customers with nonprime, suprime or deep subprime credit, with the largest increase going to borrowers in the deep subprime category.

"The automotive finance industry is continuing a steady climb to good solid footing," said Melinda Zabritski, director of automotive credit for Experian. "Consumers continue to do a better job of repaying loans, while at the same time, many of the most risky loans from 2007 and 2008 are now off the books. These factors combine to lower the total volume of dollars at risk and give lenders more confidence in loosening their overall lending standards."

The report also revealed that the average consumer credit score for new vehicle loans slightly lowered between July and September, dropping from 769 in the same period last year to 763 this past quarter.

When credit scores are at an unhealthy level, unfair or inaccurate marks left by creditors can add unnecessary hurdles to getting scores back in a healthy range. Consumers should review their financial histories to make sure their scores are represented both fairly and accurately.