Consumers are continuing to prioritize auto expenses ahead of other payments, a credit bureau study finds, despite record job losses and shelter-in-place orders preventing many consumers from driving beyond trips to the grocery store or to seek medical care.
Those financially affected by COVID-19 closures were about twice as likely to default on a mortgage than an auto payment, maintaining historical trends of ranking transportation needs above other credit products, according to the survey of nearly 3,000 U.S. consumers conducted by TransUnion.
Charlie Wise, head of global research and consulting at TransUnion, said U.S. consumers who have lost jobs or hours during the pandemic are not willing to turn over their keys just yet.
"The recognition many consumers have is, this isn't going to be forever," Wise said. "At some point, we will be let out of our homes. When that call comes, I don't want to be without a car."