There's good news if you plan to finance your car purchase: The average credit score for car shoppers dropped to pre-recession lows as auto lenders extended some of the best terms since the financial crisis, Experian Automotive says . In the first quarter of 2012, car shoppers averaged 4.56% for 64 months, representing a lower rate and longer term than year-ago figures. That led an Experian official to note that "automotive lending is as healthy as it's been since the market bottomed out in 2008." Auto-repossession rates and 30-day delinquencies are down this quarter, and lenders see a safer environment to extend credit, which dried up during the recession.
In other news:
After announcing plans to jointly develop its next Alfa Romeo Spider with Mazda's next-gen MX-5 Miata , Alfa parent Fiat said it wouldn't purchase a stake in Mazda, Reuters reports . But Fiat will extend its ownership of Chrysler to 61.5% in July, up from the current 58.5%.
Automotive News reports Chevrolet will sponsor the U.K. soccer team Manchester United, whose fandom amounted to 659 million followers last year.
Ford executives say slow production stymied market share this year, but the automaker will add 400,000 units of production in the remainder of 2012 to rectify that, Automotive News reports .
Bloomberg News reports that after Northern Italy's 5.8-magnitude trembler Tuesday, exotic-carmakers Ferrari and Maserati have suspended operations in the region.