With today's dire economic climate, it should come at no surprise that delinquencies on automotive loans climbed last year. But what's perhaps counter-intuitive is, despite a particularly acute financial crunch, Michigan's residents owe less on their car and truck loans than their counterparts in any other state. In fact, 35 states have a higher delinquency rate than Michigan, according to the latest findings of TransUnion, one of the country's largest consumer credit agencies.

In a news blurb in the Detroit Free Press, TransUnion president Peter Turek reasons that the reality behind the perception disparity is likely the result of many Wolverine state residents having access to special discounts afforded to auto company employees and their friends and families.

According to the Freep, Nevada residents have the highest balance owed on its vehicles ($15,225), while Michigan owners carry the smallest balance (at an average of $11,009), and the latter's 60-day delinquency is 0.68 percent, well below chart-topping Mississippi and its 1.62 percent tally.

[Source: Detroit Free Press | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]

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