THERE has been a “noticeable shift” in dealer attitudes towards online motor finance so far this year with an increasing realisation that it can open up a whole new used car market.
Startline Motor Finance Chief Executive Paul Burgess said that more dealers now believe that online motor finance could potentially attract a new group of customers who were not necessarily the same ones who would buy a used car from them anyway.
He said: “The difference we have seen is that, a year ago, most dealers who offered an online finance option, believed that they were simply shifting some of their showroom business online. They tended to offer fairly rudimentary motor finance options through their web site, offering perhaps one lender with a basic HP product.
Now, there is an understanding emerging that this is frequently new and incremental business, that customers who want to finance their car online are often quite different. They are experienced and web savvy and, as such, are expecting a choice of dealer finance options to be offered. That means both different products and different lenders.
“Certainly, we are seeing a situation where many of the dealers with which we work are rapidly increasing the sophistication of their online motor finance, with a noticeable shift since the start of the year.”
Burgess added that this change had benefited Startline because it is often included in a panel as a lender that offered a different option to other prime providers.
Startline had been investing heavily in IT in recent months, partly in response to this shift in dealer attitudes. Burgess added: “We’ve introduced new decisioning software designed to process a higher percentage of customer applications automatically alongside e-agreement technology that allows customers to e-sign motor finance agreements.”