The results stand in contrast to prior auto industry rhetoric, which contends millennials are not interested in purchasing their own vehicles. The data also come a few months after a separate report found that Americans ages 17 and younger have a greater desire to buy a new vehicle than millennials did at their age.
"With unemployment among millennials improving, coupled with lower interest rates and low gas prices, the share of millennial auto-loan requests is on the rise," said Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree.
Yet millennials are more conservative than older generations when requesting financing. For those ages 18 to 34, LendingTree said the average auto-loan request was $14,825. That's roughly $3,000 lower than the average amount sought by those 35 and older.
Millennials' preference for less-costly used vehicles is likely driving this trend, the lending firm said. On average, about 46 percent of the cohort's requests last year were for used vehicles, compared with 44 percent for older drivers, according to the firm's data.
LendingTree declined to share what percentage of millennials' loan requests are accepted, citing competitive reasons.