Is Private Surveillance Behind Crazy Car Loans?

Big Brother Is Repossessing You (Courtesy: Boston Globe/BostonBeta.com)

Big Brother Is Repossessing You (Courtesy: Boston Globe/BostonBeta.com)

There’s been a lot of news about the explosion in auto credit in the US, which now exceeds credit card debt and ranks second only to student debt in non-mortgage consumer credit. Every aspect of auto-backed debt -amount, term length, securitization, subprime availability- has hit new highs recently… except repossessions, which remain relatively low.  And that, say the issuers, bundlers and sellers of auto debt, is what makes the credit class so safe relative to mortgage debt. Because repossessing a car is relatively easier than repossessing a house, bad debts are easier to collect. [Continue Reading]

Detroit Auto Show: Signs Of Trouble Ahead

Buckle up!

Buckle up!

Interpreting what an auto show has to say about the state of the car industry isn’t always easy. Though there’s enough groupthink in the industry to regularly produce obvious trends (current example, “Shooting Brake” three-door sportscar hatchbacks), these are mostly just the superficial fluctuations of any fashion-oriented business. Looking deeper, however, connecting a show’s trends with the broader market context, is often quite difficult. Not so for this year’s Detroit Auto Show, however. Simply scanning through the new debuts, the lack of mass-market or utilitarian offerings was immediately noticeable. More to the point, the glut of luxury products was inescapable. [Continue Reading]