An uptick in prime lending helped drive subprime share down, especially in the used-vehicle market. Subprime originations made up 22.86 percent of the used-vehicle market, the lowest level on record, according to Experian.
And more than half of used-vehicle loans went to prime and superprime borrowers for the first time since the third quarter of 2010, Experian said.
"We saw the peak of the recession where the market really pulled back, and prime was really at those all-time highs," Zabritski said. Back then, "It was a market pullback from necessity. Now, it's speaking to consumer choice, stronger consumer credit and a greater shift overall into prime."
More prime consumers are buying used vehicles as interest rates and vehicle prices rise and as the payment gap between new and used vehicles continues to widen, she said. The average monthly payment for new and used vehicles both reached record highs — $530 and $381.
The gap between those payments, $149, was a $13 increase from a year earlier.
"Many car shoppers base their decision on monthly payment. And with such a sizeable difference between new and used monthly payments, some consumers may opt for the less expensive vehicle," Zabritski said in a statement. "We believe every consumer deserves access to an affordable vehicle. Lenders need to analyze the data and trends so they can offer appropriate financing options."