The rate for serious auto delinquencies, defined as accounts 90-plus days overdue, also rose in the fourth quarter, to 3.47 percent from 3.35 percent in the year-earlier period.
Analysts are keeping an eye on delinquencies because of a gradual increase in subprime auto loans. To put delinquencies in context, the uptick was the first year-over-year increase in 90-day delinquencies since the fourth quarter of 2012. Ninety-day delinquencies hit a recent high of 5.27 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Fed statistics.
Total auto debt, including loans and leases, reached $955 billion as of Dec. 31, up $92 billion, or nearly 11 percent, from where it stood as of Dec. 31, 2013.