Has the U.S. auto lending market become overheated? The answer to that question depends on which parts you inspect after popping the hood.

Auto finance is definitely booming, thanks largely to strong investor demand for an asset class that performed unexpectedly well during the Great Recession. In the first three months of the year, automobile lending at banks grew by an impressive 9.9% year-over-year, far outpacing other consumer loan products, according to recent report by Moody's Investors Service.

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