- Access to auto credit improved in June after hitting a two-year low in May.
- Following tightening that occurred this spring during the banking crisis, June marked an important turning point that saw credit access improve across all channels and all lender types.
- However, credit access remains tighter than a year ago and is tighter than before the pandemic for many channels.
Access to auto credit improved in June after hitting a two-year low in May, according to the Dealertrack Credit Availability Index for all types of auto loans. Following tightening that occurred this spring during the banking crisis, June marked an important turning point that saw credit access improve across all channels and all lender types. However, credit access remains tighter than a year ago and is tighter than before the pandemic for many channels. The All-Loans Index increased 0.8% to 97.2 in June, which was the highest reading since March and reflected that auto credit was easier to get than in April and May. With the increase in June, access was tighter by 7.1% year over year, and compared to February 2020, access was tighter by 2.0%.
Dealertrack Credit Availability Index
Auto loan access improved in June but was down substantially year over year
All Auto Loans Index (Jan2019=100)
Credit Availability Factors Mixed in June
Movement in credit availability factors was mixed in June. Yield spreads narrowed, average terms lengthened, and down payments declined, and those moves improved credit access for consumers. However, declines in the approval rate, subprime share, and negative equity share hurt consumer credit access.
The average yield spread on auto loans in June narrowed by 40 BPs, so rates consumers saw on auto loans were more attractive in June relative to bond yields. The average auto loan rate declined by 4 basis points (BPs) in June compared to May, while the 5-year U.S. Treasury increased by 36 BPs, resulting in a narrower average observed yield spread.
The approval rate declined by 20 BPs in June and was down 2.1 percentage points year over year. The subprime share fell to 10.5% from 11.0% in May and was down 1.3 percentage points year over year.
The share of loans with more than 72-month terms increased 0.2 percentage points but was down 0.4 percentage points year over year.
All Loan Channels Saw Credit Loosening in June
All channels saw improving credit availability in June. Certified pre-owned (CPO) loans saw the most loosening. On a year-over-year basis, all channels were tighter, with CPO loans having seen the most tightening.
Credit Availability Increased for All Lender Types
Credit availability also increased in June across all lender types. Auto-focused finance companies loosened the least, while captives loosened the most. On a year-over-year basis, credit access was tighter across all lender types, with auto-focused finance companies having tightened the least and credit unions having tightened the most.
Each Dealertrack Auto Credit Index tracks shifts in loan approval rates, subprime share, yield spreads and loan details, including term length, negative equity, and down payments. The index is baselined to January 2019 to show how credit access shifts over time.
Measures of Consumer Confidence Improved in June
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased by 7.0% in June, as views of both the present situation and future expectations improved. Consumer confidence was up 11.5% year over year. Plans to purchase a vehicle in the next six months declined but were little changed year over year. The confidence index did not fall as much during the pandemic as the sentiment index from the University of Michigan. Still, both series improved in June and were up substantially year over year against the peak of the inflation surge in 2022. The Michigan index increased 8.8% for the month and was up 28.8% year over year. Consumers’ views of buying conditions for vehicles increased in June from what had been the lowest level this year in May, and the June view was much better than a year ago. The daily index of consumer sentiment from Morning Consult also measured improving sentiment in June, as the index posted a strong 4.4% gain over May. Expectations of the future improved the most in June in the Morning Consult data and are at the highest level since August 2021. Gas prices declined slightly in June. According to AAA, the national average price for unleaded gas fell 1.0% in June to $3.54 per gallon, which was down 27% year over year.
The Dealertrack Credit Availability Index is a monthly index based on Dealertrack credit application data and will indicate whether access to auto loan credit is improving or worsening. The index will be published around the 10th of each month.