Experian's latest State of the Automotive Finance Market report, covering the second quarter, suggests lenders aren't headed down any slippery slopes when it comes to discipline.
For starters, the percentage of new-vehicle loans to subprime and deep subprime borrowers fell to 15 percent in the quarter from 22 percent in the same period in 2013. While up from the 10 percent low at the peak of the recession in 2009, that's still below the prerecession high of 20 percent in the second quarter of 2007.
"Lenders are still showing cautionary signs when lending to the subprime market and keeping their risk at manageable levels," said Experian's Melinda Zabritski.
Average loan amounts to subprime and deep subprime consumers also fell in the quarter -- to $27,347 from $27,563 in the second quarter of 2013 for subprime borrowers and to $24,836 from $25,486 for deep subprime.
Experian, which supplies credit scores, also said the average score for a new-vehicle loan in the second quarter was 711, up from 699 a year earlier.