Financing

CalAmp to form partnership with TransUnion to monitor for stolen vehicles

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Here’s a development aimed at providing some ancillary benefit to auto finance companies when the vehicle connected to the installment contract is stolen.

This week, CalAmp announced plans to partner with TransUnion to help insurance carriers better manage risk, minimize replacement losses and improve customer service.

The partnership intends to leverage TransUnion’s insurance data and industry relationships to the benefit of consumers and insurance companies through the activation of stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) services in LoJack’s installed base of vehicles with units previously in a dormant state.

When a LoJack equipped vehicle is reported stolen and is activated, law enforcement can directly locate and recover the vehicle using one of more than 14,000 LoJack tracking computers installed in police vehicles across the nation.

“Bringing together the proven capabilities of our LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System with TransUnion’s strength in insurance data analytics means insurers will gain access to enhanced services for tracking and recovering stolen vehicles,” said Michael Burdiek, president and chief executive officer at CalAmp.

“The combined resources could save insurance providers millions of dollars per year in stolen vehicle claims and bring peace of mind to consumers,” Burdiek continued.

As the only SVR system directly integrated with law enforcement, the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System has a more than 90 percent recovery rate on cars, trucks and SUVs. Triggering a real-time activation of a dormant LoJack stolen vehicle recovery service can mean the difference between a full recovery or a complete loss.

“As the CalAmp and TransUnion relationship moves forward, we believe both insurers and consumers will realize great benefits,” said Mark McElroy, executive vice president and head of TransUnion’s insurance business unit. “Our role in helping to track down stolen vehicles at a faster rate will be especially rewarding to see.”

In 2017, the average recovery value per vehicle was $10,8071.  Law enforcement recovered more than $134 million worth of LoJack-equipped stolen vehicles in 2017, a 7-percent increase from 2016.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, auto theft increased at a similar rate nationally.

“As the cost of replacement parts increases with more advanced vehicle technology, the profit incentive becomes even stronger for thieves, increasing the risk of auto theft losses for insurers and consumers,” officials added.

FICO auto financing survey reinforces importance of dealerships

SAN JOSE, Calif. - 

U.S. consumers are going online in droves to acquire everything from nail polish to holiday knickknacks. Their propensity to do the same to secure auto financing isn’t quite at the same level, according to a global consumer survey on automotive finance experience released on Thursday by FICO.

Silicon Valley analytic software firm FICO on Thursday announced the findings of its first global survey on consumer perceptions of the automotive finance process. The research looked at how consumers view the financing aspect of their auto purchase for new and used vehicles, as well as how the ecosystem of providers (banks, captive finance providers, credit unions, dealerships and startups) are currently meeting customer expectations.

A trio of initial findings showed:

• Only 5 percent of U.S. consumers applied for their loans online, while 29 percent plan to do so for their financed installment contract.

• Seventy-three percent of U.S. consumers obtain their financing at the dealership; more than any other country.

• The U.S. has the second longest wait time to complete the finance process as 62 percent of U.S. consumers have to wait 30 minutes or more.

“FICO’s research provides valuable insight into the auto finance experience for consumers. As a customer-centric organization, GM Financial puts our customers at the center of everything we do. The results of the research are a great validation that lenders, and their dealers must be relationship-focused throughout the customer journey,” said Bob Beatty, executive vice president for North America customer experience at GM Financial.

FICO highlighted that among the key findings is a sizable gap between a consumer’s interest in online auto financing (33 percent) versus current global market adoption (10 percent). In the United States, there is a 24-point difference, as only 5 percent of U.S. consumers applied for their financing online, while 29 percent plan to do so for their next purchase.

Also, in the U.S., FICO noticed that more than any other country surveyed, the dealership is still the main channel for U.S. consumers as 73 percent finance their vehicle purchase at the dealership.

FICO acknowledged consumers appreciate immediacy in their financing process. The survey showed 87 percent would accept or at least consider an instant offer for financing a vehicle if that meant they could avoid dealing with a bank or doing extra paperwork. However, globally, 54 percent of consumers wait 30 minutes or more to complete their financing transaction — from filling out the application, to receiving an offer and finalizing the loan.

The percentage of U.S. consumers who have to wait that long is higher at 62 percent, which makes it the second highest country, behind only Mexico at 65 percent.

 In contrast, the U.K. has the shortest wait time for the financing process with 63 percent waiting less than 30 minutes. 

“The survey results underscore that consumers expect more transparency, personalization and timeliness. There is tremendous opportunity for the industry to move beyond transactional relationships into a long-term, customer-centric relationship by providing personalized experiences that gives customers more control over the auto buying process,” said Ken Kertz, senior director and practice leader of auto and motorized at FICO.

Other data points of note for the U.S. included:

• Financing has a meaningful impact on the effectiveness of marketing to auto shoppers. FICO noticed 67 percent of participants said that the level of financing they qualified for had some or a great deal of impact on their selection of a vehicle, make, model or dealership.

• There are generational differences in auto financing. FICO found that baby boomers strongly prefer going to a dealership, and millennials prefer going to a bank.  In general, younger consumers are more likely to seek digital financing, however, is not the first choice for the majority of any age group.

• Monthly payments and interest rates are most important when considering competing options. The findings indicated consumers care most about low monthly payment amount (92 percent) and interest rates (94 percent) and are willing to put more money down as a trade-off.

• Overall, consumers are fairly satisfied with their experience. FICO said 87 percent of respondents felt they got a good or excellent deal, and the clear majority of consumers around the world feel that they are receiving at least a fair deal in during their financing experience.

FICO’s independent research surveyed 2,200 adult consumers across nine countries including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain,and the United Kingdom. The respondents were between the ages of 18 and 64 who acquired financing for a new or used vehicle within the last three years.

More information on the survey results can be found at this website.

Credit Acceptance president announces upcoming retirement

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - 

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission submitted late last week, Credit Acceptance president Steven Jones announced his decision to retire as an officer and employee of the company.

The SEC document indicated that Jones’ decision is effective on June 30.

Jones has been part of a company team that recently earned an additional award based on a ranking released by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE.

Credit Acceptance was named to the 2018 Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance list for the third year in a row. The company was named No. 7 among the country’s Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance for the large company category. Last year, the company ranked No. 10 and this year.

“We earned this ranking based on team members’ responses to questions about how frequently they experience the behaviors that create a great workplace. These include team member pride in the organization’s community impact, belief that their work makes a difference, and feeling their work has special meaning,” Credit Acceptance officials said.

To see the complete 2018 List of Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance, visit greatplacetowork.com/2018.

Innovate Auto Finance names new VP of portfolio acquisitions

FORT WORTH, Texas - 

Innovate Auto Finance added to its human capital this week in an effort to keep its book of business growing.

Innovate Auto Finance, a purchaser and servicer of auto portfolios and provider of line-of-credit financing, has hired Kevyn Rails as vice president of portfolio acquisitions. In this role, the company indicated Rails will source profitable subprime portfolios for Innovate’s own book of business, as well as for the multinational asset management firm that retained Innovate earlier this year to source and service up to $50 million of portfolios for their company.

“We are excited to welcome Kevyn to our growing organization. He brings more than two decades of diverse experience in auto finance, including roles in both sales and credit,” said Scott France, chief operations officer for Innovate Auto Finance.

“Kevyn’s unique lending background will serve him well as he assesses auto loan portfolios across the country,” France continued.

In his new position, Rails will oversee both the portfolio acquisitions and funding teams, leveraging his 24 years of auto finance experience.

“I am thrilled to join Innovate Auto Finance, a company that is truly on the forefront of change in this industry," Rails said. “It’s not every day you come across an organization that isn’t afraid to try something new.

“Innovate definitely lives up to its name, and that pioneering spirit is one of the many reasons I chose to come on board,” he went on to say.

Rails will join other Innovate executives at several upcoming conferences, including LendIt Fintech USA 2018 and AFSA Independents Conference & Expo. To set up a meeting with an Innovate executive at one of these events, send a message to businquiries@innovateauto.com.

defi SOLUTIONS listed among publication’s 2018 Most Promising Fintech Providers

GRAPEVINE, Texas - 

The trophy case at defi SOLUTIONS is starting to get quite full as the company received another accolade this week.

In recognition of its position as a dynamic and disruptive industry Fintech innovator and business partner defi SOLUTIONS has been named to CIO Review’s annual list of Top 20 Most Promising Financial Services Technology Providers for 2018.

“It is an honor to be recognized as an industry-leading provider in the fast-changing Fintech space,” defi SOLUTIONS chief information officer Keven Sticher said. “This honor underscores our commitment to bringing innovation to the architecture of lending and transforming the way loans are originated, managed and serviced today and in the future.”

With the emergence of blockchain, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence and deep learning, among other innovations, as well as other technology innovation coming to the lending industry in the next several years, defi SOLUTIONS insisted that it is poised to help clients and business partners take advantage of the marketplace of the future.

In the publication’s feature showcasing the honorees, Sticher stated, “We understand the importance of helping lenders at the place they are in their business lifecycle, and we give them the tools that allow them the freedom to do business as they choose.”

For this annual recognition, CIO Review’s editorial board joins a distinguished judging panel of chief executive officers, CIOs and industry analysts to select companies with proven records of expertise in the Fintech sector.

Companies on this list have demonstrated an expert ability to identify and address client requirements, develop strategic approaches to market demands, and customize their offerings to address the specific needs and requirements of automotive financers.

New-car rates jump to near-decade high as delinquencies remain stable

ATLANTA and SANTA MONICA, Calif. - 

As Edmunds spotted interest rates on new-vehicle financing climbing to the highest level in nearly a decade, the latest auto finance data from Equifax showed severe delinquency edged up only slightly in February.

According to information shared this week with SubPrime Auto Finance News, Equifax determined the severe delinquency rate — the share of balances 60 days or more past due — stood at 1.13 percent in February, up just 5 basis points from the year-earlier reading of 1.08 percent.

Equifax also reported that auto write-offs registered at 24.5 basis points in February, which is down from 24.9 basis points a year ago.

Equifax tabulated that finance companies originated 28.10 million vehicle installment contracts and leases — totaling $611.3 billion — in 2017, representing a 3.5-percent decrease in total new accounts and a 1.1-percent decline in balances over the prior year.

Equifax deputy chief economist Gunnar Blix pointed to the change reflecting a market shift from new to used vehicles.

Blix also mentioned that according to Equifax’s full-year data, just 9.2 percent of vehicle leases were issued to consumers with a subprime credit score, marking the smallest subprime share since 2011.

When looking at the data as a while, especially with delinquencies remaining relatively stable, Blix said, “Consumers benefit from these trends as well.

“Understanding how auto markets are shifting and learning which credit markets have favorable terms can help them make more informed personal decisions,” he went on to say.

March financing trends

Edmunds passed along information to SubPrime Auto Finance News this week, as well, indicating interest rates on new-vehicle loans will hit their highest level since 2009 in March. The projection would mark the second straight month of sharp rate increases.

According to the analysts at Edmunds, the annual percentage rate (APR) on financed new vehicles averaged 5.7 percent in March — compared to an average of 5.2 percent in February and 5 percent in January. This compares to 5 percent in March 2017 and 4.4 percent in March 2013.

Edmunds experts point to a significant decrease in zero-percent loans as a primary driver for this rise in the average. The percentage of zero-percent loans will drop to 7.4 percent in March compared to 11.4 percent in 2017, which Edmunds attributes to larger automakers shifting to different incentive structures to address slowing sales.

“Some of the largest volume brands like Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan and Toyota are demonstrating the largest drop in zero-percent loans year-over-year,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds.

“This goes to show how the cost of lending has become increasingly more pricey, and zero-percent financing, while still a desirable incentive, no longer adds the same wow factor for consumers like it used to,” Caldwell continued.

Edmunds experts also point to a significant decrease in the number of installment in the 2- to 4-percent APR bracket and an increase in the 4- to 7-percent range as contributors to the spike in the average APR in March.

Analysts determined the number of 2- to 4-percent contracts accounted for 8.9 percent of the market, compared to 14.1 percent a year ago, and the percentage of 4 to 7 percent loans accounted for 34.5 percent of installment contracts compared to 27.6 percent last March, indicating that buyers are continuing to land in higher brackets than they previously would have.

“The high interest rates right now may catch a lot of car shoppers off guard, especially if they qualified for a lower rate the last time they visited the dealership,” Caldwell said.

New-Car Finance Data





 

March 2018

March 2017

March 2013

Term

69.5

69.0

65.7

Monthly Payment

$527

$509

$461

Amount Financed

$31,020

$30,271

$26,533

APR

5.7

5.0

4.4

Down Payment

$3,962

$3,789

$3,584

 

Used-Car Finance Data





 

March 2018

March 2017

March 2013

Term

67.2

67.0

63.8

Monthly Payment

$393

$382

$361

Amount Financed

$21,202

$20,832

$18,867

APR

8.7

8.3

8.4

Down Payment

$2,625

$2,507

$2,364

Source: Edmunds

Black Book’s 2018 depreciation forecast and 3 other findings from Fitch

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - 

Now with one quarter of 2018 in the books, Black Book and Fitch Ratings released their latest joint vehicle depreciation report.

Along with three other major findings, Black Book forecasted an annual depreciation rate of 17 percent in 2018 as the supply of used cars and trucks increases, up from a lower-than-expected 13.2 percent experienced in 2017 due to strong sales activity stemming from hurricanes last fall. 

Three other trends included in the report were:

• New light vehicles sales volume decreased by 2 percent in 2017 to 17.14 million, below the record of 17.46 million in 2016.

• Light trucks, including SUVs, crossovers and pickups, continue to increase in U.S. new sales, constituting 65 percent of the volume compared to 57 percent in 2016 and 55 percent in 2015.

• Incentive spending by auto manufacturers grew year-over-year in 2017, ending the year at nearly $4,000 in average incentive amount on new vehicles.

2017 depreciation trends

In 2017, Black Book determined the prestige luxury car segment had the highest annual depreciation at 23.4 percent. On the other hand, editors noticed full-size pickups retained their value well throughout the year as demand of used pickups remained high, ending the year with only 5.1 percent in depreciation.

Black Book found that full-size crossover/SUV, the largest of the SUVs, had the strongest retention with a depreciation rate of 9.4 percent. Their values held up well with nearly zero depreciation in the first two quarters of the year.

Editors pointed out that sub-compact cars, the smallest of sedans, experienced the highest depreciation rate among non-luxury car segments at 17.6 percent in 2017. On the other hand, the next level up in sedans, compact cars, performed much better than in previous years.

Among the crossover/ SUVs, the smallest of the luxury crossovers, sub-compact luxury CUVs depreciated the most at 19.2 percent, according to Black Book’s analysis.

A look ahead at 2018 trends

In January of this year, editors calculated that a 2015 model year vehicle on average was valued at 51 percent in the wholesale arena as a percentage of typically-equipped MSRP. This three-year retention has dropped from 52 percent in January 2017, which at that time was for a 2014 model year vehicle.

Black Book residual value forecasts show that values of 2018 model year vehicles in January 2021 are expected to be three percentage points lower than the current retention trends averaged across all vehicle models.

At the specific vehicle segment, brand and individual vehicle level, residual values offer a different look, according to Black Book.

When economic conditions and expectations are factored into Black Book’s scenario-based residuals modeling, the trend shows a steeper drop in residual values when considering an economic downturn scenario.

The company also expects to see a slight pullback in lease penetration, as rising interest rates, declining residuals, tighter credit criteria and rising availability of off-lease used vehicle options make leasing more expensive for auto manufacturers and their captive finance companies.

“We expect vehicle depreciation to increase and residual values to decline in 2018 as used vehicle supplies increase while overall demand stabilizes,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president of operations at Black Book.

“Consumer demand at the vehicle segment level may see more volatility, and as such lenders should analyze and measure portfolio equity on a regular basis to assess risk within their portfolios,” Goyal continued.

US Auto ABS outlook for 2018

Fitch’s prime asset performance is projected to continue normalizing but remain well within recessionary levels.

Analysts indicated prime annualized net losses (ANL) will get closer to the 1-percent range in 2018. Loss severity is a focus in 2018 as high used vehicle supply and reduced used-vehicle demand will constrain recoveries.

Fitch explained that extended-term contracts (lasting longer than 60 months), which comprise a large majority of all prime and subprime ABS pools securitized, remain a key risk next year, particularly if early defaults increase on these riskier loans and drive the pace of losses higher.

Fitch added subprime asset performance will be pressured in 2018 at or near prior recessionary levels, with the weakest performance attributed to the smaller and less seasoned finance companies, whom ABS platforms Fitch does not rate.

Analysts went on to mention the risk to subprime finance companies may accelerate as auto sales decline and competition ramps up, forcing them to further loosen credit standards to gain or hold market share.

Overall, Fitch expects severity to remain as the main factor impacting ABS performance, especially as more used supply puts pressure on recovery rates in auto ABS pools during 2018.

“Despite a relatively stable outlook for auto lease ABS asset performance in 2018, it is evident that increasing lease returns in 2018 will place more pressure on residual performance throughout the year,” said Hylton Heard, senior director at Fitch Ratings.

The Black Book-Fitch vehicle depreciation report is available here.

F&I roundup: Updates involving Darwin, RouteOne, Reynolds and Hendrick

ISELIN, N.J., and DAYTON, Ohio - 

Two leading providers of technology to help dealership F&I offices function smoothly — Darwin Automotive and Reynolds and Reynolds — each recently landed significant developments to boost their industry presence.

First, Darwin Automotive announced that Darwin Online is now integrated with RouteOne for retail contract validation, submission and approval.

Meanwhile, Reynolds and Reynolds and Hendrick Automotive Group said that the Reynolds docuPAD system will be installed in all dealership F&I departments throughout the dealer group by mid-July.

Darwin explained what its relationship with RouteOne means.

From the dealer’s website, a consumer can select their vehicle, briefly describe their driving habits, select payment options and then receive a 100 percent accurate payment.  After being educated on the available protection and accessories, the consumer can opt to save even more time and get approved via the RouteOne integrated credit application.

Darwin Online then can send the detailed deal structure inclusive of qualified customer and vehicle incentives and programs, insurance products, as well as any trade detail, if applicable.  Dealers have full control over how much of the process is automated via their online retail services configurations.

If the dealer chooses no further automation, notifications are immediately sent to assigned dealership personnel, and direct consumer engagement occurs. 

If the dealer chooses further automation, credit bureau selection occurs. Depending on the results and deal parameters, the deal automatically can be submitted to select finance companies. This process all can occur in seconds while the customer is still engaged on the dealership’s website.

RouteOne pointed out that that firm can protect dealers from compliance and fraud with a number of free services built into its platform as well as premium subscriptions for those looking for a more encompassing solution, including the dealer’s own privacy policy, Credit Score Disclosure Notices and Red Flag Screening, to name a few.

“Undeniably one of the last pieces of digital retailing yet to be tackled is online F&I,” Darwin Automotive chief executive officer Phil Battista said. “Dealers need to adopt digital retailing technology that directly addresses and prominently promotes both the ‘F’ and the ‘I,’ or there will be one less profit center for them to count on.

“With our RouteOne partnership, Darwin Online continues the evolution of digital retailing in F&I, allowing customers to shop the way they demand,” Battista continued. “We offer dealers F&I everywhere — the ability to educate and sell F&I protection to customers wherever they choose to engage your dealership and our dealers are profiting from this immensely.”

Darwin Online interfaces with more than 142 different product providers and allows dealerships to control their profitability and disclosure. It can interact with all dealership websites without any need for DMS integration. The platform can provide accurate payments that match the dealership’s DMS to the penny.

The provider noted that studies show that 63 percent of online consumers surveyed said they would be more likely to buy F&I products if they were educated about them before they came into the dealership. Darwin Online can prescribe products the customer needs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Approximately 2,500 dealerships have enrolled in Darwin Automotive’s F&I software in just the past two years. 

For more information, or to schedule a product demonstration, call (732) 781-9010 or visit www.darwinautomotive.com.

Hendrick adds the Reynolds docuPAD System in all dealerships

As mentioned, Reynolds and Reynolds and Hendrick Automotive Group recently announced that the Reynolds docuPAD system will be installed in all dealership F&I departments throughout the dealer group by mid-July.

Overall, Reynolds will install more than 350 docuPAD system workstations in the 96 Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships, with a large portion of those installations already having occurred.  Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Hendrick Automotive Group will be the largest single user of the docuPAD system in the United States.

“The docuPAD system has proven itself everywhere it’s been installed,” said Bob Brockman, chairman and chief executive officer of Reynolds.  “I’ve always admired Hendrick Automotive Group as disciplined and well run.

“Adding the docuPAD system to their F&I functions will help them take another step forward in the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations and in generating better financial returns in F&I,” Brockman continued.

Installing the docuPAD system also can enable Hendrick Automotive Group stores to adopt Reynolds eWorkflow, an end-to-end digital solution for creating and processing a deal and securing funding using eContracting.  Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships are already using electronic deal jackets and eliminating the stacks of paper that go to the accounting office, the lender and the consumer.

Reynolds eWorkflow also can improve dealership cash flow by cutting contracts-in-transit time and facilitating faster funding of deals.  Additionally, it reduces document storage costs.

“The people at Reynolds are true partners who share many of our company’s core values,” said Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group.  “Continuous improvement has been a long-standing focus for our company.  The combination of Reynolds’ leading technologies and close working relationship with our team members is helping our dealerships take care of a whole new generation of customers.”

The Reynolds docuPAD system is well established in dealerships across the automotive industry as an effective way to increase financial returns in F&I offices, while also reducing errors in the F&I process and safeguarding a dealer’s compliance efforts.  At that same time, the docuPAD system completely changes the consumer experience in F&I.

“Reynolds is working with our dealerships on becoming more efficient, helping reduce storage costs, and simplifying compliance needs,” said Robert Taylor, vice president of Hendrick Automotive Group information technology.  “These new technology platforms are also fully interactive and allow our team members and customers to go seamlessly through an interactive F&I process.  They are interchangeable, giving our individual F&I departments the ability to customize the process, fit the needs of their customers, and improve the overall dealership experience.”

Dealerships across the industry last year closed approximately 1.6 million vehicle sales using the Reynolds docuPAD system, which is an increase of more than 30 percent over 2016.  On average, those dealerships also realized increased gross profit in F&I operations, according to Reynolds.

Looking ahead, Reynolds projected that 2 million vehicle sales will be closed through the docuPAD system in 2018.

“All of us at Reynolds are extremely proud to work with the people across Hendrick Automotive Group,” Brockman said.  “We recognize that their customers expect a rewarding, convenient, and efficient experience.  We believe the new solutions we’re providing will help every Hendrick Automotive Group store deliver that experience more effectively and profitably.”

Santander Consumer USA revamps website

DALLAS - 

With so much discussion happening at recent industry conferences about enhancing how customers shop for and finance their vehicles, Santander Consumer USA took action.

SCUSA unveiled a new company website with the singular goal of improving the overall customer experience. The new site features what the finance company says is an intuitive and clean design built specifically to help customers find the information and resources they need, quickly and easily.

In addition to improved functionality, SCUSA highlighted its website now includes a financial education learning center, comprised of free resources and online courses on subjects from managing credit to maintaining financial health. Visitors to the site can take advantage of several finance calculators, monthly budgeting tools and educational modules on topics such as debt payoff, simple interest financing and retirement.

“Approximately half of Americans feel stressed about their finances,” said Mary Davis, executive vice president of consumer practices for Santander Consumer USA. “Our new online education center — with a large library of financial planning tools and knowledge modules — helps empower consumers to have a better understanding of their personal financial situation.

“We believe that when consumers know more about financing, credit and budgeting, they can reduce the stress they may feel over issues related to managing their money,” Davis continued.

SCUSA emphasized that every detail of its new website was intentionally created with the end user in mind.

“We didn’t set out to make a prettier version of the SC company website, but instead focused on clear design, providing customers with the information they’re seeking and representing our corporate values — simple, personal and fair,” said Patrick Daly, Santander’s director of digital strategy.

“More than 60 percent of visitors to santanderconsumerusa.com are using a mobile device,” Daly explained. “While our previous site catered to mobile users, this site focuses on mobile users as the primary audience. Pages, menus and features are optimized for handheld smartphones and tablets, as well as the personal computer.”

Other improvements include a redesigned blog, easy-to-use navigation and a dynamic help and support section so visitors can easily find the answers they need.

SCUSA went on to say the new site can enable the finance company to react to customer feedback more quickly, and to refine its online resources to continually meet the needs of customers.

Visitors are encouraged to explore the new features, take an online financial education class and to provide feedback to Santander Consumer USA, according to the company.

SpringboardAuto case study reinforces survey results about online financing satisfaction

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Earlier this year, SpringboardAuto released results of a survey that determined consumers want to finance their vehicle online and doing so significantly improves their overall car buying experience and perception of the dealership where they take delivery.

And last week, SpringboardAuto shared a case study that aligned with those survey findings around the emerging consumer demand for online auto financing with real world, in-dealership success stories based on consumer preferences for online, ahead-of-time financing.

“When we looked at the data, it was clear to us that many customers prefer to handle their own financing online before visiting the dealership,” said Jim Landy, chief executive officer and founder of SpringboardAuto. “So, we weren’t surprised to hear our dealer partners come forward with success stories about the experience.

“What was a surprise — and delight — was the extent to which online financing has the potential to strengthen the lifetime value of the customer to the dealer,” Landy continued.

In each case, customers were happier with the deal and the dealership.

“It’s a smoother process when customers come in with financing in place,” said Eddie Castillo, general sales manager for Pine Belt Cadillac in Toms River, N.J. “If I have a car they like, everything just flows like it should, from sales to service. In this case, I feel confident that we have made a customer for life.”

The case study, “How Car Buyer Happiness with Online Car Loans Increases Happiness with Dealership Experience,” delves into three recent customer success stories, ranging from a subprime used vehicle purchase to a new car luxury transaction.

In all cases, the speed, convenience and resulting satisfaction created the basis for an ongoing relationship.

In each case, the dealer enjoyed the resulting glow of positive reviews and the likelihood of increased service retention.

Download the case study here.

Editor’s note: Landy is on tap to be a guest of a future episode of the Auto Remarketing Podcast. Past episodes are available here.

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