SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Experian Automotive reported today that new-vehicle loans made to below-prime customers increased by 22.4 percent during second quarter compared to the year-ago period. The consumer credit segment also represented 22.29 percent of all new-vehicle loans originated during the quarter, up from 18.21 percent in the second quarter of last year.

“Even with a tepid economic recovery in the first half of the year, automotive lenders were willing to increase their level of risk,” said Melinda Zabritski, director of automotive credit for Experian Automotive. “This was good news for automotive manufacturers, as nearly half of all consumers fall into non-prime, subprime and deep subprime risk categories.”

Deep subprime experienced the largest percentage increase in new car loans, increasing 44.1 percent to 2.13 percent of all new-vehicle loans originated during the quarter.

The report also found that the average customer credit score for both new- and used-vehicle loans dropped by 10 and eight points, respectively. For new-vehicle loans, the average fell from 772 in the second quarter of 2010 to 762. For used-vehicle loans, the average fell from 679 to 671 on a year-over-year basis.

The total dollar volume of automotive loans 30- or 60-days delinquent dropped from nearly $21 billion in the year-ago quarter to $16.9 billion. Thirty-day delinquencies dropped by 10.39 percent to 2.59 percent. Additionally, 60-day delinquencies dropped by 14.46 percent to 0.6 percent.