After nearly a decade of being able to borrow money for next to nothing, interest rates are finally beginning to creep higher. Even the relatively small increases seen so far have caused problems in the previously booming automobile industry. The size of the auto loan market has ballooned to a historic 1.1 trillion dollars, and subprime lending has once again become the norm. Teaser offers that allow people to get cars with zero money down and 84-month financing have fueled a wave of irresponsible spending. Americans’ tendency to associate success with having nice things has driven many people who can’t afford to buy a house to get the next best thing — a brand new car.