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Credit Platforms Revisited

November 2009, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gregory Arroyo - Also by this author

Dealers weren’t the only ones on the frontlines of the economic downturn; credit-platform providers also had a front-row view. DealerTrack’s Robert Granados, RouteOne’s Justin Oesterle, and Open Dealer Exchange (ODE)’s Marty Zwolan discuss a host of issues in this virtual exchange.

F&I: Robert, with lending practices having shifted over the last 12 months, what has DealerTrack done to help dealers better understand what finance sources are buying?

RG: We actively engage with our dealers to educate them on what lenders are doing in their area and how to maintain and expand their access to financing. Our platform incorporates reporting features that help dealers understand where their business is headed and how best to manage it.

Our Website, www.dealertrack.com, also provides dealers with a free tool that allows them to look for lenders in their area. We also provide an announcements function that enables lenders to message dealers on new financial product offerings and program updates. It also alerts dealers to new lenders that become available in their area.

As I’m sure you’re aware, DealerTrack connects more than 18,000 dealers with more than 750 lenders — from captives to national banks, regional banks and credit unions. And by simply entering their ZIP code, dealers can find active, indirect lenders in their region.

F&I: Justin, what is RouteOne doing differently to assist dealers and finance sources sell and finance vehicles in this challenging economic environment?

JO: Our core philosophy has not changed, as we continue to provide access to the greatest funding capacity in the industry at no charge to our dealer customers. Although we certainly manage to a budget, we continue to make investments in our system to increase the ease of use for both dealers and finance sources.

We also continue to be as flexible as possible during these economic times. For example, dealers can cancel a RouteOne agreement at any time; some competitors either lock their customers into a long-term commitment or advise them they can be relieved of their obligation if they go out of business. Although we’re conscious of the times and work aggressively to do everything we can to help our dealer customers, it didn’t take an industry downturn for us to do the right thing.

F&I: Has the recession had any effect on product development?

JO: Recessions do not impact our commitments to security, compliance, or support, as these are the basic costs of conducting business. While the economy does necessitate an aggressive evaluation of discretionary investments, we continue to enhance our system. We are dedicated to responding to our customers’ feedback on their expectations. Further, we support whatever changes we make through complimentary Web and live training provided by our sales staff.

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