Fitch: Rise in Vehicle Depreciation Poses No Detriment to U.S. Auto ABS

NEW YORK--()--Link to Fitch Ratings' Report: Black Book/Fitch Book Vehicle Depreciation Report: 4Q12

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=702329

Vehicles are likely to depreciate to a greater degree this year, though not enough to present any major obstacles to U.S. auto loan and lease ABS, according to a new report developed by Black Book and Fitch Ratings.

According to Black Book, vehicle depreciation rates averaged just under 13% in 2012 (below the historical range of 15%-18%). Auto ABS has benefitted from relatively benign depreciation rates over the past two years, which has resulted in very low loss rates of under 0.45% on auto loan ABS, and strong residual values gains of 11% in auto lease ABS transactions through year-end 2012.

Black Book expects vehicle depreciation rates in 2013 to remain low but rise to the lower end of the historical range mentioned above. The average monthly depreciation on wholesale values of 1-5 year-old vehicles was of 2.1% in late 2012 (based on sales volumes over the past 12 months at wholesale vehicle auctions).

During the last quarter of 2012, even with high gas prices, compact cars, entry level cars, entry mid-size cars and upper mid-size cars (all more fuel efficient models) depreciated at inflated levels of monthly averages of 3.3% and 1.5%, respectively.

That said, Fitch believes auto loan ABS asset performance will still benefit from healthy used vehicle values in 2013. This is the case even as vehicle depreciation rises as higher used vehicle volumes enter the wholesale vehicle market. 'A higher amount of auto leases coming due this year will squeeze residual values down marginally from current elevated levels, but not enough to impact auto ABS asset performance materially,' said Senior Director Hylton Heard.

The Black Book-Fitch Vehicle Depreciation report is a joint venture by the two companies utilizing Black Book's used vehicle depreciation data. The report will be released on a quarterly basis.

'Auto lenders are continuously searching for ways to assess risks related to changes in values to automobiles backing retail loans and leases and ultimately loss rates, and this new report helps to identify risk exposure levels for various individual vehicle segments," said Tom Cross, President of Black Book.

In the initial report, Black Book discusses among other items, factors that drive vehicle depreciation rates within individual vehicle segments, while Fitch focuses on how recent low depreciation has positively impacted used vehicle values and continues to support auto ABS asset performance and ratings.

Black Book tracks used vehicle market depreciation rates providing an understanding of how vehicle prices impact automobile lenders and lessors, auto ABS transactions, consumers and other auto market constituents.

'Black Book is one of the leading sources for automobile data and insight that may be instrumental to the auto lender community,' said Hylton Heard, Senior Director of Fitch Ratings. 'The new report will show key trends tied to auto supply and demand that drives vehicle depreciation rates and ultimately impacts the auto ABS sector.'

To obtain a copy of the Black Book-Fitch Vehicle Depreciation Report, email 'LenderSolutions@BlackBookUSA.com', or go to Fitch's web site at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

About Fitch Group

Fitch Group is a global leader in financial information services with operations in 34 countries. The Group includes: Fitch Ratings, Inc., a global leader in credit ratings and research; Fitch Solutions, a leading provider of credit market data, analytical tools and risk services; and Fitch 7city Learning, a global leader in financial training. Fitch Group is 50% owned by Paris-based Fimalac, S.A., and 50% owned by New York-based Hearst Corporation.

About Black Book

Best known in the Automotive Industry for providing timely, independent, and accurate vehicle pricing information, Black Book data is published daily by National Auto Research, a division of Hearst Business Media, and is available to industry qualified users through subscriptions to our website (www.BlackBookUSA.com) and through applications for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 7, BlackBerry, Palm and virtually any other Smart Phone sold in the U.S.

Black Book data is also available to industry qualified companies for license and sublicense through proprietary web services, APIs, and data feeds. Whether you're buying, selling, or lending, Black Book's mission is to provide the Automotive Industry with timely, independent, and accurate information to help make the right decisions.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Hylton Heard, +1-212-908-0214
Senior Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc.,
1 State Street Plaza
New York, NY 10014
or
Media Relations:
Sandro Scenga, New York, +1 212-908-0278
sandro.scenga@fitchratings.com

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Hylton Heard, +1-212-908-0214
Senior Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc.,
1 State Street Plaza
New York, NY 10014
or
Media Relations:
Sandro Scenga, New York, +1 212-908-0278
sandro.scenga@fitchratings.com