The percentage of particularly risky loans has skyrocketed since 2010, though some lenders are said to be stepping away from subprime borrowers in general.
Some auto lenders appear to have embraced a particularly risky class of borrower in the 'deep subprime' range, generally considered to have a FICO credit score less than 550.
The share of subprime auto loan securities in the 'deep' category has increased from 5.1 to 32.5 percent since 2010, according to a Morgan Stanley research note cited by Bloomberg. Reflecting the risk, delinquencies of 60 days on deep subprime-backed bonds have increased by three percentage points since 2012.
Some lenders are said to have focused on subprime automotive borrowers to offset lower profits from other loans due to market changes following the subprime mortgage crisis.
An Automotive News report suggests some lenders are attempting to reduce their exposure to subprime loans. Similar strategies are being embraced by some of the biggest names in the industry including Ally Financial, Capital One, GM Financial and Santander, among others.
Local "buy here, pay here" dealerships are expected to get a boost as subprime and deep subprime borrowers are turned away from new car dealerships.