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We all remember the financial crisis that began several years back. At its core was a splurge of subprime lending for housing loans. The housing bubble burst, triggering a collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market. Apparently, those types of loans still exist in the automotive industry, and the market share for these types of "nonprime, subprime, and deep subprime," loans has grown 13.6 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago.
According to an Automotive News report, high-risk lending expanded to 24.8 percent of total loans in Q3, up from 21.9 percent for this time last year. As this level increased, average credit scores of borrowers dropped to 755, down from 763 a year ago. In that time, the average financing amount increased $90 per vehicle, to $25,963.
At 818, Volvo maintains the highest per-owner credit score, while Mitsubishi has the lowest, at 694. The highest rate of borrowers was at Toyota, with 14 percent of the market, followed by Ford with 13.1 percent and Chevrolet at 11.1.
It was inevitable that we'd see the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray topless at some point, but that didn't make us any less interested when a pair of supposedly leaked official images showed up on theautoinsiderblog.com last week. We posted them on our Facebook page, but held off reporting on them here until we could get a little more information.
Those images, which feature a dark red car on a sterile black studio background, supposedly first appeared on the website of diecast model maker Maisto. A Chevrolet spokesman has been reported saying that they are "not official images released by Chevrolet PR," which isn't a denial they're the real deal, but neither is it a confirmation.
Close examination of the photos suggest they could be official shots of the Corvette Stingray Convertible, and while some have doubted their authenticity due to a lack of vents (which were seen on the C7s that debuted in Detroit last week), it could be that the images are of a base model car without the Z51 package that doesn't require the extra venting and cooling.
To say that things aren't going well for the newly redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is a pretty sizable understatement. Reports have been swirling about the Malibu getting an emergency design refresh, less than a year after its introduction, as well as having its production at the Fairfax Assembly Plant halted twice already this year for excessive inventory. Now, Motor Trend is reporting that the midsize sedan will be receiving price drops across the board ranging from $300 on a number of models up to $770 on the 1LT trim; offsetting some of MSRP drop, though, the destination charge has increased from $760 to $810.
Without destination, the entry-level Malibu LS now starts at $21,995, which is still about $300 more than a Honda Accord and about $300 less than the segment's top-selling Toyota Camry. This new pricing also drops the price of the Eco, 2LT and 3LT trims by $300. The LTZ trim has dropped by $415, meaning that the Malibu's top dog now starts at just under $30,000, excluding destination.
Here are the new starting prices for all eight of the Malibu trim levels compared to the previous prices for the 2013 model year (including destination):