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Experian ranks auto brands with lowest customer credit scores

December 04, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander was unveiled at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show. It will come with either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine and is about 200 pounds lighter than the previous model.
The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander was unveiled at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show. It… (David Undercoffler / Los…)

Which auto brands have the buyers with the absolute worst credit scores? They include some of the brands with the fewest buyers.

Buyers of Mitsubishi vehicles have the worst credit scores among car shoppers, according to Experian Automotive, a division of the giant credit reporting company. They had an average credit score of 694, the worst of any major brand.

Mitsubishi has sold fewer than 54,000 vehicles in the U.S. this year and barely registers in the market share statistics. Americans have purchased more than 13 million vehicles through the first 11 months of this year.

Suzuki, which last month said it was shutting its U.S. auto operations and exiting the market, was next. Its customers have an average credit score of 704. Suzuki has sold only 23,000 cars in the U.S. this year.

But a major brand, the Dodge division of Chrysler Group, had the customers with the third worst average credit score, 718. Dodge has sold almost 750,000 vehicles this year, a 16% gain over the first 11 months of last year. 

South Korean automaker Kia was fourth at 721 and the Scion division of Toyota – which targets younger buyers – was fifth at 723.

On the flip side, Volvo has the customers with the highest credit scores.  Its average buyer had a score of 818.  It is also a tiny brand fighting to stay alive in the U.S. market. Volvo has sold fewer than 62,000 vehicles here this year.

The Swedish automaker is followed by a succession of luxury nameplates people expect would have creditworthy customers. Lexus was second at 816, Acura third at 813, and then Audi, Infiniti, Jaguar and Porsche brands were next, all at 810.

The Experian data shows a gradual easing of credit conditions in the auto finance industry and fewer defaults.

The repossession rate in the third quarter fell to 0.4% from 0.62% in the same period last year. Thirty and 60-day auto loan delinquencies also are falling and stand below their pre-recession levels of five years ago.  

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