What's the second biggest purchase after a home? Most of the time, it's a car. And with so many people losing their homes, it's really no surprise that so many people are also losing their cars. Repossession companies are reporting record business -- so much so in fact that they are securing additional lots on which to store the delinquent goods.

It's estimated that this year will see a 10-percent rise in car repossessions, with 1.6 million vehicles expected to disappear from driveways and streets. It would be the second year of double-digit rises in repos. (And that doesn't count recreational vehicles like boats, which should suffer even higher rates of return.) And it appears no one has been spared -- repo men report taking back high-end trucks as well as luxury cars from gated communities.

The culprit, as in the housing debacle, has been claimed by some to be the generous auto loans given to those who perhaps should have got a bit less to spend. One repo man said it would have been worse if employment hadn't stayed relatively strong. That will be little comfort to banks like Wells Fargo that -- by itself -- wrote off $1 billion in bad loads last year.

[Source: USA Today]