ATLANTA — New-vehicle loans originated in the first quarter totaled $52.5 billion, which stretched 49 percent higher than three years ago, according to Equifax’s May National Consumer Credit Trends Report.

The most current data also shows that new-auto bank loans amounts originated between January to March 2012 totaled $47.5 billion, a seven-year high. The amount was also 25 percent higher than the recession-era low in March 2010 ($35.9 billion).

The total number of outstanding auto loans continues to climb, surpassing 57 million for the first time since February 2010. Additionally, balances among existing auto loans are also increasing, with the May 2012 total of $740 billion representing a 34-month high.

Other highlights include:

• Tracking at a five-year low, auto delinquency rates are the lowest of all major loan types and currently sit at pre-recession levels.

• The total number of auto loan originations for March 2012 stood at 5.2 million year to date, the second highest total in seven years. The total is exceeded only by the peak in March 2007 year to date (5.3 million).

• Auto loan amounts year to date were at $100 billion as of March 2012, a six-year high.

• In May 2012, total existing auto loan balances were at $740 billion, an increase of $43.1 billion from a year ago.

• Current data shows the number of new-auto loans funded by auto finance companies increased 46 percent from the recession-low in March 2009 to 1.06 million in March 2012, a five-year high.

• The number of new-auto loans funded by bank, savings and loan or credit unions increased 21 percent from the recession-low in March 2009 to 933,900 in March 2012, a seven-year high.