Santander Consumer USA's purchase of DriveTime Automotive Group’s auto finance portfolio signals a growing interest in subprime auto financing, according to Standard & Poor's note released this morning.

In a Sept.14 Securities and Exchange Commission filing from DriveTime, the company said that its affiliate DT Acceptance Corp. will sell its finance receivable portfolio to Santader in a deal worth $700 million. The portfolio comprises vehicle-related installment sales contracts and certificates representing the unit's residual interests in securitizations of finance receivables.

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