There's good news if you plan to finance your car purchase: The average credit score for car shoppers dropped to pre-recession lows as auto lenders extended some of the best terms since the financial crisis, Experian Automotive says. In the first quarter of 2012, car shoppers averaged 4.56% for 64 months, representing a lower rate and longer term than year-ago figures. That led an Experian official to note that "automotive lending is as healthy as it's been since the market bottomed out in 2008." Auto-repossession rates and 30-day delinquencies are down this quarter, and lenders see a safer environment to extend credit, which dried up during the recession.
In other news:
- After announcing plans to jointly develop its next Alfa Romeo Spider with Mazda's next-gen MX-5 Miata, Alfa parent Fiat said it wouldn't purchase a stake in Mazda, Reuters reports. But Fiat will extend its ownership of Chrysler to 61.5% in July, up from the current 58.5%.
- Automotive News reports Chevrolet will sponsor the U.K. soccer team Manchester United, whose fandom amounted to 659 million followers last year.
- Ford executives say slow production stymied market share this year, but the automaker will add 400,000 units of production in the remainder of 2012 to rectify that, Automotive News reports.
- Bloomberg News reports that after Northern Italy's 5.8-magnitude trembler Tuesday, exotic-carmakers Ferrari and Maserati have suspended operations in the region.