Our Blog

Auto Loan Losses: Navigating Through the Noise


Over the last few quarters, there have been numerous news headlines noting the rise in auto loan delinquencies. The headlines tell only part of the story, however, as many of the losses can be attributed to subprime auto loans, which comprise roughly 40% of the auto loan market.

Over the past decade, losses on automobile asset-backed securities (ABS) had actually trended downward and reached historic lows. This is due in part to the strong financial position of the American consumer. A decade of historically low rates combined with very low unemployment helped to keep the consumer in a stable environment and auto loan defaults relatively low. While it is true that delinquencies and losses have increased, this is due primarily to losses in the subprime portion of the auto loan market, which is $55 billion of the $140 billion market. Specifically, delinquencies and losses have increased for subprime issuers who have a poor track record for underwriting and managing risk.

While current losses on prime auto loans are higher than their historical lows (0.56% vs 0.30%), they are still very low and well within expectations.

 

Over the last five years, smaller-scale (non-benchmark) subprime issuers have seen losses increase from 7.60% to 9.90%, a much larger increase that weighs on the sector as a whole.

 

 

Despite subprime auto weakness, Sage believes that prime auto borrowers are in a healthy position and do not pose a systemic risk. Given the strong job market, consumer ABS is still a healthy sector with a compelling risk-reward value. The sector is largely AAA-rated, and a great alternative to other high-quality, lower-yielding assets.

 

Disclosures: This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice or an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security, strategy or investment product. Although the statements of fact, information, charts, analysis and data in this report have been obtained from, and are based upon, sources Sage believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee their accuracy, and the underlying information, data, figures and publicly available information has not been verified or audited for accuracy or completeness by Sage. Additionally, we do not represent that the information, data, analysis and charts are accurate or complete, and as such should not be relied upon as such. All results included in this report constitute Sage’s opinions as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice due to various factors, such as market conditions. Investors should make their own decisions on investment strategies based on their specific investment objectives and financial circumstances. All investments contain risk and may lose value. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Sage Advisory Services, Ltd. Co. is a registered investment adviser that provides investment management services for a variety of institutions and high net worth individuals. For additional information on Sage and its investment management services, please view our web site at www.sageadvisory.com, or refer to our Form ADV, which is available upon request by calling 512.327.5530.