Affordability, used-vehicle financing and a possible recession: There's plenty of headwinds to keep auto dealers and lenders working hard to remain profitable in 2020.
Many factors dominating today's auto finance market are expected to continue into the new year, according to Satyan Merchant, senior vice president and TransUnion's auto line business leader.
Despite threats from auto tariffs, rising vehicle prices and a presidential election, loan originations are expected to hold steady in 2020, he said.
"Auto lenders are figuring out a way to continue to originate new loans, and while they're doing that, they're doing it in a way in which delinquencies are staying low and performance is staying strong," Merchant said.
Here are some other topics and developments the credit bureau says those in the F&I world should watch for in 2020.
Robust consumer credit activity: TransUnion predicts 2020 will be another year of positive credit activity on the part of American consumers. What's driving that optimism? Low unemployment rates, record-high U.S. equity markets, high consumer confidence and a growing economy.
Auto balances will grow — for prime and above auto customers: Declining new-vehicle sales will hamper growth in auto loan originations, but borrowers with the best credit scores will continue buying well into the new year, TransUnion says.
Serious auto loan delinquencies will drop or flatten: A tighter credit environment increases the likelihood that lenders will receive timely payments on auto loans, while driving other borrowers from the market entirely.
External factors could still interfere: External pressures such as higher gasoline prices, rising vehicle prices and the threat of auto tariffs could raise affordability concerns and push customers out of the vehicle market.