Ally lands another major relationship; this time with Sonic’s EchoPark


Ally Financial is continuing to diversify its relationship portfolio.

Adding to a parade of developments since the beginning of the year, Ally announced on Thursday that it has signed an agreement with Sonic Automotive. Effective this month, Ally will be the provider of vehicle service contracts (VSCs) and guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage for the group’s EchoPark dealerships in Colorado and Texas.

Ally highlighted that EchoPark Automotive launched in the fall of 2014, and has been well-received for a “revolutionary” used-car experience in Denver, San Antonio, and now expanding to the Dallas market.

Through the agreement, EchoPark customers will have the option of adding Ally GAP and Ally Premier Protection service contracts to their purchases. GAP covers the difference between the cash value of a vehicle and the outstanding balance of a customer’s installment contract if the vehicle is totaled or stolen.

Ally Premier Protection covers the repair cost for more than 7,400 mechanical, electrical and safety components on a vehicle, as well as some related expenses such as trip interruption, rental car coverage, towing and 24/7 roadside assistance.

“With the EchoPark dealerships, Sonic is reshaping the perception and customer experience of pre-owned vehicle dealerships. At Ally, we share that passion for serving the customer and are excited to work with EchoPark to provide additional value and peace of mind with our products,’’ said Mark Manzo, president of Ally Insurance.

EchoPark is a pre-owned vehicle dealership focused on customer experience and making it easy to search for, buy and sell pre-owned vehicles. With modern showrooms that are integrated with technology, EchoPark dealerships are designed to create a car-buying experience that can allow customers to seamlessly transition between the online and in-store shopping experience.

Since 2014, EchoPark has expanded to eight dealerships in Colorado and Texas, with additional locations opening later this year.

“Exceptional customer experience and satisfaction are what EchoPark was founded on, and Ally’s dedication to the customer is an excellent match for our dealerships,” said Jeff Dyke, executive vice president of operations of Sonic.

“We look forward to working with Ally to offer F&I products that will provide customers with great value and the peace of mind that comes with knowing their vehicles are protected,” Dyke continued.

The relationship with Sonic continues a string of developments involving Ally since January of which included:

— In January, Ally announced that it entered into an agreement to purchase retail contracts from DriveTime. Under the agreement, Ally will make up to $750 million available to DriveTime for the purchase of retail contracts over the coming year.

— Ally and Drive Motors entered into a strategic relationship in March naming Ally the preferred finance company for Drive Motors. The agreement provides Ally with the opportunity to receive consumer financing applications submitted digitally by dealerships using Drive Motors’ software, which is an e-commerce solution for dealership websites.

— In April, Mobiliti, a new subscription service based in Detroit, said it will work with dealers to provide a vehicle subscription option to consumers, and it planned to launch this service in Austin, Texas. As far as its work with Ally, the two companies said they are “exploring options for a suite of offerings focused on Mobiliti and its participating dealers’ needs.”

For more on Ally, check out the podcast below with longtime and outgoing auto finance leader Tim Russi, who talked with Nick Zulovich at AFSA's Vehicle Finance Conference in March.