Moody's Investors Service assigned ratings to the cash securitization of auto loans issued by Spanish bank Santander.

The deal, dubbed FTA Santander Consumer Spain Auto 2010-1, has €493.5 ($620.5 million) A notes rated 'Aaa', which priced at 70 basis points over the three-month Euribor.

The €57 million B notes, rated 'Aa2', priced at 120 basis points over the three-month Euribor. The €49.5 million C notes, rated 'Baa2', priced at 150 basis points over the three-month Euribor. The transaction's €88.5 million D notes were rated 'Ca.'

The Santander Spanish auto deal follows a number of European auto ABS transactions that have come to market over the past weeks.

Ford Motor Co.’s FCE Bank recently announced that it had funded €474 million of in the market via its €502.75 million Globaldrive 2010-A.

The structure offered €474.45 million, 2.2-year triple-A rated notes that priced at 160 basis points over one-month Euribor.

The single-A rated €28.8 million 3.7-year class B notes priced at 250 basis points over one-month Euribor. Meanwhile, the unrated €26.786 million class C notes were both retained.

Renault also brought a €1 billion deal to market via its RCI Banque. The deal, which is backed by German car loans, is called Cars Alliance Auto Loans Germany 2010-1. It has on offer a triple-A rated, €873 million A class notes with a 1.78-year WAL.

In terms of the Santander deal, it is backed by a portfolio of 60,556 auto loans, extended to individuals (96.3%) and small companies (3.7%), to finance the acquisition of new (90.5%) and used cars (9.5%).

The loans were originated between 2004 and 2010 and have a weighted average seasoning of less than a year and a weighted average remaining life of 4.84 years.

Moody's said that it benefits from several credit strengths, such as a very granular portfolio, a static structure and a swap agreement guaranteeing an excess spread of 2.5% which Moody's took into consideration in its analysis.

However, the rating agency noted that the transaction features a number of credit weaknesses, including a relatively short weighted average seasoning, the performance deterioration above market average of previous deals originated by Santander Consumer as well as the originator/servicer not being rated by Moody's.

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