The proliferation of smartphones and potential buyers seeking financing at places nowhere near dealerships are combining to drive more investment into mobile platforms.
The latest development came on Wednesday as Santander Consumer USA announced that it will invest and work with AutoFi with the intention to streamline and simplify the vehicle-buying process for consumers, while giving dealers a robust digital sales channel.
AutoFi aims to connect dealers, consumers and finance companies to provide a more convenient, efficient and transparent experience when researching and purchasing vehicles. AutoFi’s platform allows consumers to lease or purchase a new or used car through a dealership’s website whether they shop online, in the dealership or both.
AutoFi’s network of finance companies provides consumers with a range of real-time financing options and the ability to customize their financing terms. AutoFi can then guide consumers through trade-in valuation and optional additional products for their vehicle.
“Working with AutoFi is a win for consumers and a win for dealers,” said Rich Morrin, SCUSA’s president of Chrysler Capital and auto relationships. “Our customers get a faster, easier and more personal car-buying experience, and the technology facilitates a more streamlined process for our dealers.
"Santander Consumer USA’s digital strategy has always been about connecting consumers to cars they love and want to drive, with payments they can afford. AutoFi’s platform, along with SC’s digital platform RoadLoans.com, helps us do just that,” Morrin continued.
Santander InnoVentures (SIV) is Banco Santander’s financial technology venture capital fund, which will make an investment in AutoFi. SIV funds companies globally to support their growth and success, and connect them with Santander’s businesses to enable mutually beneficial strategic relationships.
Manuel Silva Martínez, partner and head of investments at SIV, on the investment in AutoFi: “Customers demand the same digital and ecommerce-like experience when buying a car as they do in other areas of their lives. AutoFi is enabling car manufacturers, dealers and car selling platforms to adapt to the changing customer needs, while building what we believe will be an industry-changing business.
“We are very happy to support AutoFi as we shape the future of the auto finance industry together,” added Silva Martínez, who will join AutoFi’s board as an observer.
Just a couple of weeks ago, AutoFi also landed an agreement with Chase Auto Finance. And now the FinTech firm has commitment from SCUSA.
“Santander Consumer USA has a clear focus on using technology to enhance the customer experience,” said Kevin Singerman, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based AutoFi.
“Working with Santander will help expand the digital market for dealerships, making it easier for a wider array of consumers to secure online financing,” Singerman continued. “Together, we look forward to delivering a convenient and transparent vehicle purchase journey.”
Another firm in this space — AutoGravity — also continues to build its relationship portfolio; this week collaborating with Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.