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Easier lending equals more auto sales

Mar 03, 2011 Brian Bradley

Auto sales have been steadily climbing over the last six months, but analysts are contributing those gains to favorable auto loans more than attractive models in showrooms. According to The New York Times, vehicle sales jumped 11 percent in 2010, totaling more than 11.4 million units sold. However, the access to lending for those with below average credit is driving the market. The Times reports that more than 859,000 vehicles were sold to consumers with sub-prime credit in 2010, many of whom were able to drive a car off the lot without a down payment. The growth in the market is being attributed to consumer willingness to take on more debt since the start of 2010. "We had people coming to our showrooms that wanted to buy, but we couldn’t get them financed," Michael E. Maroone, president of AutoNation, told the Times. "We are now getting them the financing." Another significant source of life in the auto financing industry is the recovery of the bond market. According to the Times, the $100 billion industry, which nearly evaporated at the end of 2008, has made strong gains over the past year. Additionally, the $11.7 billion provided by the federal government to private investors helped lead a resurgent marketplace.