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Bigger car loans, but most still paying on time

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The latest data on car loans show borrowers have bigger notes but are managing to make the payments.

Credit reporting agency TransUnion says average auto loan balances have increased amid a strong market for cars and trucks this year, rising to $13,435 in the second quarter. That's up 4.5 percent year-over-year and a 1.3 percent increase from the first quarter. Many drivers have moved to replace older vehicles after holding back for several years following the last recession. Low interest rates and good lease terms have also helped fuel U.S. auto sales, which jumped 14 percent to 1.3 million in July.

Lenders have responded, making loans available, even to those with less-than-perfect credit.

But Americans are keeping up with the payments. The rate of U.S. auto-loan payments late by 60 days or more was essentially flat in the April-June quarter. The delinquency rate dropped from 0.88 percent in the first three months of the year.