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Auto loans have been a consistently strong aspect of the recovering economy, and the end of last year was no different. The dollar amount of car loans and leases originated in the fourth quarter of 2013 ($129 billion) increased 16% from the fourth quarter in 2012, bringing the loan and lease origination total to $511 billion in 2013 (it was $439 billion in 2012).

These quarterly numbers come from the Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence Reports and Experian’s IntelliView tool, which analyzes the data in the reports.

That 16% increase represents a steady climb in origination volume, but in some areas of the country, origination volumes jumped more than 30% in the same period. The state of Montana recorded a 38.9% year-over-year increase in car loans and leases last quarter, up from $337 million to $469 million. In other words, that’s $462 in new car loans and leases per resident (Wyoming took on the most auto debt per person last quarter, at $586, but the state didn’t see a spike like Montana did).

 Several states from various regions saw similar jumps in new loans and leases.

Where Cars Sold Big

The Experian data looks at the dollar amount of loans and leases created in the last quarter, so while it doesn’t identify car sales as a whole, it indicates the demand for auto products. Of course, the highest origination volumes tend to correlate with population (Texas and California reported the highest levels of origination volumes, at nearly $15 billion and $14.3 billion, respectively). Using the 2013 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the origination volumes can be broken down per capita, which gives an idea of how common it is to have auto loans in that state.

The year-over-year changes in origination volumes show where the demand for cars has grown. For instance, there aren’t a lot of car loans or leases in the nation’s capital (it’s densely populated, and many residents use public transportation), but loan and lease originations there climbed nearly 30% in the fourth quarter. Here are some other states that saw a year-end scramble for auto loans and leases, the states that saw the largest year-over-year increase in auto loan originations:

Arizona

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $2.9 billion
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $2.3 billion
  • Increase: 24.9%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 6,626,624
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $438

North Dakota

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $409 million
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $327 million
  • Increase: 24.9%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 723,393
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $565

Mississippi

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $1.2 billion
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $950 million
  • Increase: 26.1%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 2,991,207
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $401

Vermont

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $304 million
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $241 million
  • Increase: 26.2%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 626,630
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $485

Idaho

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $629 million
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $495 million
  • Increase: 27%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 1,612,136
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $390

District of Columbia

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $186 million
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $144 million
  • Increase: 29.5%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 646,449
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $288

Utah

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $1.4 billion
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $1.1 billion
  • Increase: 31%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 2,900,872
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $483

Maine

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $596 million
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $443 million
  • Increase: 34.6%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 1,328,302
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $449

New Hampshire

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $731 million
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $536 million
  • Increase: 36.3%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 1,323,459
  • Auto Debt Per Capita Taken on in Q4 2013: $552

Montana

  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2013: $468 million
  • Loan and Lease Origination Volume, Q4 2012: $337 million
  • Increase: 38.9%
  • 2013 Est. Population: 1,015,165
  • Auto Debt Per Capita: $461

If you’re thinking about buying a new car, it’s important to go in with the best credit score possible so you can get the best interest rate on your auto loan. The free Credit Report Card will give you two of your credit scores, plus a look at the major factors impacting your credit.

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