LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. car owners are carrying higher auto loan balances but still making timely monthly payments.

Credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday that auto loan debt per borrower grew 4.4 percent to $16,769 in the final quarter of 2013 from a year earlier.

The late-payment rate on auto loans edged up to about 1.1 percent in the same period from 1.04 percent in the last three months of 2012.

Even so, the late-payment rate remains below the 1.3 percent average quarterly late-payment rate for every October-to-December quarter going back to 2007.

The trend suggests that most borrowers with auto loans continue to keep up with payments, even as auto loan debt per borrower has risen 12 percent since the first quarter of 2011.