Better credit suggests upbeat end for 2010

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News
You can look for new-car sales and F&I business to finish the year on a positive note.

Thanks to better access to credit -- plus a ton of automotive advertising and year-end sales promotions -- Experian Automotive expects to report next week another quarter's worth of slow improvement in credit for auto loans. Experian's auto loan statistics for the third quarter will include a lower level of overdue payments.

That's consistent with already-reported third-quarter data from individual auto lenders such as Ford Credit and Ally Financial.

Experian also expects an uptick of a few percentage points in the share of auto loans going to “credit-challenged” customers.

The numbers don't spell easy credit, but they're better than a lump of coal.