Automotive News reports Chrysler owes some of its recent sales success to a resurgence of subprime loans. Chrysler has a history of working with customers burdened with questionable finance histories, and lenders have begun to loosen credit restrictions. As a result, 29 out of every 100 auto loans for new Chrysler models went to buyers with a credit score under 680 in the first quarter of this year. Experian Automotive classifies loans tied to that credit score as subprime. What's more, nearly 21 percent of Dodge sales through May went to buyers with annual interest rates of 10 percent or more on an average term of 71 months.
The report says that on the whole, just eight percent of all new car loans have interest rates of 10 percent or more. Even so, Chrysler's sales are up 33 percent through the first five months of 2012, besting the industry average by around 20 percent. On the whole, Automotive News reports subprime lending in the new car market has returned to its pre-recession levels.