Tag Archive | "leasing"

Payment Gap Between New and Used Hits All-Time High in Q2, Experian Reports


SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Experian Automotive reported today that the gap between the average monthly payments for new and used vehicles during the second quarter reached a record $122 — the largest margin since Experian began publicly reporting auto finance data in 2008.

According to the firm, the average monthly payment for a new vehicle was $483, while the average monthly payment for a used vehicle was $361. But not only did the monthly-payment gap widen during the quarter, so did gap in total loan amounts, with the average new-vehicle and used-vehicle finance amounts reaching $28,524 and $18,671, respectively — a difference of $9,853.

“As the price of new vehicles continues to rise, and the gap between monthly payments for new and used vehicles widens, we see more and more consumers looking for ways to keep their vehicle payments affordable,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive finance. “This could be especially true for consumers who have the financial ability to pursue a new vehicle but may have sticker shock at the rising prices and don’t want the accompanying high monthly payments.”

And consumers took advantage of stretching loan terms to keep their monthly payments affordable, especially for used vehicles. According to Experian, the percentage of used vehicles financed for 73 to 84 months increased by 14.8% from a year ago to 16.1% — the highest percentage on record. Additionally, new vehicles financed for the same term length climbed 19.7% from a year ago to 28.8% in the second quarter.

Leasing also continued to be a popular option for payment-conscious car buyers, with the transaction type’s share of all vehicles financed during the quarter rising 30.2% from a year ago to 31.5%. And according to Experian’s analysis, lease terms extended past the 36-month average into the 37- to 48-month range, an 18% increase. Additionally, the average lease payment dropped $13 a month from a year ago to $394.

“The automotive finance market continues to progress in response to consumer demand,” said Zabritski. “The availability of different financing options allows consumers to stretch their dollar and more easily find a vehicle that meets their budgetary needs.”

Experian Automotive also reported that the share of used-vehicle financing rose from 53.8% one year ago to an all-time high of 55.5 percent. Also reaching a record high was the percentage of new vehicles financed, which rose from 85% in the year-ago period to 85.8%.

The average credit score for a new-vehicle loan dropped two points from last year to reach 709, while the average credit score for a used loan increased one point to 645 over the same time period.

Also during the second quarter, the average interest rate for a new-vehicle loan was 4.8%, up from 4.6% in the year-ago period. The interest rate for used vehicle loans was 9.1 percent, up from 8.8 percent over the same time period.

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GM Financial Triples Share of GM Leases


SAN FRANCISCO AND FORTWORTH, Texas — Ally’s reaction to General Motors internalizing its leasing program came up at the end of GM Financial’s fourth quarter 2014 earnings call. Daniel Berce, the captive’s president and CEO, said the decision shouldn’t have surprised executives with GM’s former captive finance arm.

“That’s about increasing customer loyalty,” Berce said of GM’s decision. “Lease is a very important product from a loyalty standpoint, and having that customer data and relationship in-house and within control of the GM umbrella was extremely important. Taking that profitability in-house was another factor to consider.

“I don’t think bringing it in-house should be a surprise if you look at our ramp of penetration through 2014,” he added, noting that the firm started out the year with about a 15% share in GM leases. It finished 2014 with just less than a 50% share of the OEM’s lease business.

GM Financial doubled its lease origination volume from a year ago to $7 billion. For the December quarter alone, lease origination volume totaled $2.1 billion.

GM’s decision to end its leasing relationship with Ally Financial and U.S. Bank was announced shortly after the end of last quarter, with GM Financial officially becoming the OEM’s exclusive subvented lease provider for Buick-GMC on Feb. 3.

“Cadillac will follow closely after that [in March], then Chevy,” Kyle Birch, executive vice president and COO of North America, to F&I and Showroom at last month’s 2015 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Expo in San Francisco. “By mid-year, we’ll have full lease exclusivity with all GM brands.”

Birch noted that GM Financial spent a lot of time and investment last year bringing its systems online in anticipation of the November 2014 rollout of its prime APR product. The company also rolled out last May a floorplan financing product; Berce noting during the company’s investor call that he has “pretty modest aspirations” for the product in terms of market share.

“We don’t have any plans at this point to supplant other providers,” he said.

But developing score cards and adding auto decisioning systems for its prime business weren’t the only infrastructure investments the company made last year. Under the direction of Will Stacy, senior vice president of digital and technology services, GM Financial is also working on systems that will drive a better connection between customers, GM and the OEM’s dealers.

“We’re trying to build integration tools with GM so you can apply for credit in an easier way through their sites and through their dealer’s sites,” Stacy told F&I and Showroom at the NADA’s annual convention. “So the idea would be, we’d offer an application or widget that goes on dealership sites so you can apply for a GM Financial loan through one of those 4,200 websites that GM and Cobalt host for their dealers, as well as a beefed up the customer experience for current and future customers with native applications on iPhones, Androids and customer portals.”

The goal, Birch added, is to create touchpoints that will allow customers to interact with the captive finance company however they want, whether through its chat features on the captive’s website, self-service portals or mobile connectivity. “We want to make sure when we have a customer on the books that we’re touching them at the right time to drive them back to the dealers,” Birch explained.

The investments made in the company’s infrastructure were partly responsible for the decrease in pre-tax earnings in the December quarter, which fell from $225 million in the year-ago quarter to $120 million, Birch noted. The company’s acquisition of Ally Financial’s international operations was another factor.

Full-year earnings for the captive were $537 million, down from $556 million in 2013. For the December quarter, the company posted earnings of $59 million, down from $121 million in the year-ago quarter.

Full-year consumer loan and lease originations totaled $21.4 billion, $6 billion for the December quarter alone. Prime originations for GM vehicles totaled $493 million for the year. Outstanding balances of consumer finance receivables totaled $25.7 billion for the year.

The company also added 81 dealers to its commercial lending business, bringing the captive’s total dealer count to 487.

Birch also noted stable credit metrics, with consumer finance receivables 31 to 60 days delinquent accounting for 4.2% of the captive’s portfolio as of Dec. 31, 2014. Accounts more than 60 days delinquent were 1.7%.

Annualized net losses were 2.2% of average consumer finance receivables for the December quarter, up from $2.1% one year ago. For the year, consumer net losses were 1.9%.

GM Financial also reported having total available liquidity of $9.3 billion as of Dec. 31, 2014. That total consisted of $3 billion of unrestricted cash, $4.8 billion of borrowing capacity on unpledged eligible assets, and $0.5 billion of borrowing capacity on unsecured lines of credit and $1 billion of borrowing capacity on a junior subordinate revolving credit facility from GM.

“2014 was a good year for our company,” Birch said at the NADA convention. “Every quarter we had improvement in volume and credit losses. The biggest thing for us in 2014 is we spent a lot of time and investment on bringing all of our systems together, understanding that we were going to get in the prime business from an APR perspective.”

Asked if the company would venture into F&I products for GM, Birch said, “We’re not doing that right now. The products out there right now are GM-based and -backed. We helped in some of the rollout of those products. Now that’s being handled internally by GM. We would expect at some point in our future, and I can’t tell you when, but there’s a natural evolution for those types of products to come back to the finance company.”

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Ally ‘Highly Confident’ About Overcoming Boot From GM Leasing Program


DETROIT — Just days before it named Jeffrey Brown as its new CEO, Ally Financial’s then-CEO Michael Carpenter expressed surprise at a move by General Motors to put 100% of its U.S. Buick, Cadillac and GMC lease incentives in the hands of its captive, GM Financial.

“While we were not surprised by the idea of GM growing their captive, we were surprised that they would exclude any competition in the lease space, where Ally has done such a great job for them over the last several years,” Carpenter said during a quarterly earnings call last week. “And frankly, we don’t see how auto sales are increased by having less, otherwise known as no, options for consumers and dealers.”

In early January, General Motors announced that it planned to use GM Financial as the exclusive provider of subsidized leases in the United States, edging out both Ally and U.S. Bank from its lucrative subsidized leasing business.

“This will absolutely not impact our strong relationships and commitment to GM dealers and we will continue to support the channel,” Carpenter added.

The former CEO went on to say that once the company frees up capital from the subvented GM leasing business, it can “redeploy profitably in these other areas and increase share.” Those other areas, according to Carpenter, include the used-car market, franchised dealers and OEMs.

“For example, even though we’re doing well and we have 4% share of the 10,000 non-GM/Chrysler relationships we have, over 6,500 of those do a very modest level of business with us today,” he noted. “And we believe we can increase that penetration with those dealers over the near term.

“We will also continue to have conversations with other auto makers to see how Ally can drive more value in their channels. And these OEMs are a lot more interested in talking to Ally now that we’re out of the TARP, than they were before.”

During the call, officials reported a fourth quarter net income of $177 million, compared to $104 million in the fourth quarter 2013. For all of 2014, the finance source saw a net income of $1.2 billion, up from $361 million in 2013.

The increases were driven in part by results from Ally’s dealer-financial services business, which was headed up by Ally Financial’s new CEO, Jeffrey Brown. The group increased pre-tax income by 45% compared to the prior-year period, but that increase was due, in part, to a $98 million fine levied against Ally in the fourth quarter of 2013 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Department of Justice.

“Obviously, the year-over-year delta is impacted by the $98 million CFPB charge we took last year,” noted CFO Christopher Halmy during the call.

Ally’s auto finance franchise business remained strong during the quarter, with earning assets for the business up 3% year-over-year. Consumer auto financing originations for the quarter increased, and originations for the year hit $41 billion, the highest full-year total since 2007.

“The originations in the quarter were $9 billion, which we feel good about given the seasonal nature of the business,” Carpenter said. “These origination levels were driven by strong performance across multiple channels and were higher in every product year over year with the exception of subvented loans.”

New and used originations from non-GM/Chrysler dealers improved 37% compared to the prior-year period and increased 45% for the full year. The non-GM/Chrysler business now accounts for 22% of total consumer originations. Excluding originations from recreational vehicles, non-GM/Chrysler originations increased approximately 50% in the past year.

The finance source’s successes during the quarter and in 2014 as a whole had Carpenter “highly confident” that Ally will overcome being dropped from GM’s leasing program.

“… We have a range of options to handle these shifts in our business, which occur with some regularity,” he said. “And while the specifics may be a surprise of direction, we’ve dealt with this over five years. We have a battle-tested team. We’ve shown what we can do. We view this as another opportunity to evolve that business and we remain optimistic about the future potential, and we are committed to the plan that we showed investors at the time of the IPO.”

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Car Shoppers Interested in Used-Vehicle Leases, Swapalease.com Finds


CINCINNATI — Swapalease.com has unveiled results of its latest survey showing that 82% of drivers across the U.S. would consider getting a used car or truck lease that was three years old.

Swapalease.com is studying the consumer appetite for used leasing and presented an online survey in front of 2,500 drivers across the country during November, 2014.

One of the benefits of a used lease would include a lower monthly payment, and approximately a third of those polled said their monthly payment zone was in the $280 range. Swapalease.com Executive Vice President Scot Hall said this would be a realistic price point based on residual values of the typical sedan that originated with an MSRP of $30,000. Roughly half of respondents said they would be willing to pay a down payment between $500 – $1,500.

The largest population of people (55.5%) said their biggest concern on a used lease would be on the warranty or maintenance of the vehicle, but Hall pointed out that the majority of these vehicles could fall under a similar warranty program as the current used certified pre-owned vehicles with additional warranty and maintenance benefits.

The majority of men said their leading reason for not getting a used lease was simply not knowing where they could get one, whereas women said used leases couldn’t be priced cheap enough or that they would be worried about the condition of the vehicle.

The survey also showed that a used leasing environment would be much larger today if it had been around for a number of years. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they would only lease used vehicles or consider it more if the option was widely available over the last several years.

Most women said they would consider getting a used lease for a BMW, Honda or Lexus. Most men said they would be interested in a used lease for Audi, BMW and Lexus. Additionally, most women said they would be interested in leasing a used hybrid, sedan or SUV, whereas most men said luxury, sports sedan or SUV.

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Would a Leasing Program Benefit Tesla?


Via Auto Remarketing

CINCINNATI – You can’t secure a traditional consumer lease from Tesla. But the company did recently introduce its new Resale Value Guarantee program that offers a similar deal.

The program offers to buy back a Model S between 36 months and 39 months at a guaranteed residual.

According to Tesla officials, “When combined with a car loan provided by Tesla’s banking partners, this program gives customers the functional equivalent of a lease.”

But there’s a caveat.

The program is positioned as a lease program, but the owner still has to finance and pay taxes on the vehicle.

According to Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease.com, these and other factors are keeping Tesla from enjoying the true benefits of a leasing program.

The car brand has introduced a program that is masked as a lease, but finding a way to offer a traditional lease will benefit Tesla’s ability to compete against other luxury brands, as well as additional benefits for consumers, Hall suggested.

In April of this year, Tesla did launch a leasing program for small and medium size buisnesses in an effort to provide companies “the ease and simplicity of being able to deduct payments from their business taxes,” according to the company. For more on Tesla business leasing, see the automaker’s blog post here.

Hal explained that many other luxury brands use consumer-facing leasing programs as a way to ramp up growth as well as an outlet to push new EVs that compete directly with Tesla models.

“A standard lease program would benefit customers and help Tesla grow its brand further and compete against other luxury makers that are now focusing on EV technology,” said Hall. “Look at the success luxury brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have had as a result of their lease programs, which see between 50 percent and 70 percent lease rates for higher-end models. These lease programs have played a large part in the growth these brands have enjoyed over the years, particularly as they introduce EV models to compete against Tesla.”

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As Leasing Grows, So Does F&I Opportunity


In a report released this past summer, Experian Automotive noted that new vehicle leasing had risen by 12.5 percent this year to date – it hit a record high since the firm started keeping track of the statistic in 2006. According to the report, leasing now accounts for as much as 27.5 percent of new vehicle financing in the first quarter of 2013, up from 24.4 percent in the same quarter in 2012.

At the same time, the report noted that lease payments were down – at an average of $459, down from $462 in 2012. That comes with longer loan terms for lease deals – 65 months in the first quarter of this year.

For dealers and agents, these numbers represent an opportunity. While there have always been successful exceptions, the majority of dealerships tend to focus their F&I efforts on finance deals, with leasing customers getting little-to-no attention. But these numbers demonstrate that lease customers are a large and growing segment of the population, and contrary to popularly held beliefs, F&I products are as relevant to them as to the finance customer.

“Leasing has certainly grown and continues to grow every month,” said Brian Crisorio, vice president, United Development Systems (UDS). “Some stores are going from one a month to 12 or more; in some stores leasing is just huge. Sure there are a couple of makes or models not as focused on leasing, but it seems like across the board everyone is in the leasing game.”

What products should dealers be focused on? The consensus was that many F&I products have a place in a lease deal. John Vecchioni, national sales director, United Car Care, noted that any wear and tear product is a good fit for a lease, as is any interior/exterior protection plan, key replacement or tire and wheel. He also noted, surprisingly, that GAP is a potential lease product as well.

Tony Dupaquier, director of F&I training, American Financial and Automotive Services, also put GAP at the top of his list. “Not all leases have GAP,” he noted, “that’s one of the things everyone keeps forgetting. You have to pay attention and make sure the lease has GAP in it, and if not, sell GAP. Most leases do have GAP in them, it’s built into the lease, but you sporadically find leases that do not come with GAP, and the business managers don’t even know it. They have to make sure GAP is included, and if not, sell GAP.”

Wear and tear or appearance protection plans – both interior, with chemical protection, and exterior with dent and ding – and tire and wheel, were the top ancillary products all three agreed that F&I managers need to be presenting to every lease customer.

“Any appearance product is typically a good one for the lease customer,” noted Crisorio. “Protecting the exterior finish as well as the interior from rips, tears and burns keeps the vehicle looking great. Paintless dent repair does much of the same thing – if it’s turned in with dents and dings, they get a bill. Keys are getting more expensive every year, so key replacement is becoming more important – a damaged or missing key when you turn in the car will be expensive. And tire and wheel is also a big one.”

Vecchioni noted that he sees more products being sold into leases as a bundle, rather than individually. “Bundling saves time, and that savings allows you to capitalize on features and benefits of the products along with the impact it brings that particular customer. Wear and tear protection along with an appearance package go together. You can bundle almost any product, just keep in mind they have to have some similar advantages that make sense.”

“A case could be made that there’s an advantage to selling a multi product versus selling individual products,” said Crisorio. “A lot of it depends on the approach of the F&I manager – train on the process regardless of the deal. Focus on options, rather than individual products, and give them the best protection for that customer.”

Dupaquier noted that he teaches his F&I managers to always start off with the lease products in a bundle. “If customer doesn’t want a package for whatever reason, they’ll typically go back and pick up an individual item,” he said, “so start with all of them packaged together. The most successful F&I departments I’m seeing, they’ll put together a lease package that will have all of them.”

The exceptions to the bundling rule seem to be two: prepaid maintenance and key replacement. All three agreed that those are great lease products, but are easier to sell as stand-alone products. It is harder, they noted, to build value for maintenance or key replacement. Dupaquier noted that in many cases, customers argue that they’ve never lost a key, so they don’t see the value in key replacement, and he sees prepaid maintenance as more of a customer retention tool than anything else. The trick on that, at least, is to price it effectively.

“A lot of business managers go with scheduled maintenance as their number one hit,” Dupaquier noted. “The only cautionary piece is your price point on it – on a lease, the product price is divided by the term of the lease, unlike a traditional finance deal, which is divided by 72+ months in some cases. So scheduled maintenance that is $400-$500 changes the lease price by such an amount of money it turns people off. When a dealership tries to make too much money on it, the customer goes away, since they can go get the services done cheaper elsewhere. And on the lease, the likelihood is that the customer is coming back to that dealership anyway because of the lease, so you have built in customer retention. So dealers should put the focus on the ancillary products, for the items customers are responsible for.”

At the end of the day, selling products into a lease deal should be no different than selling them into a financed deal. Other than specific objections that might come up, the approach should be exactly the same.

“The training for handling a lease customer is similar to training for a traditional finance deal or cash deal,” said Crisorio. “Much of our training is process related, and doesn’t change if the product does. Only some of the word tracks might change to fit that customer. The approach is identical. The important part is to build value in the products you’re presenting.”

“I would explain the conditions of the lease,” Dupaquier noted, “as part of the way they start off conversation. Make sure the customer is aware of their requirements as far as vehicle condition is concerned – the same type of disclosure as how many miles the vehicle can have. Things like windshield has to be 100 percent; any door dings they’re responsible for; no mismatched tires –they have to make sure they have four of the same; any paint fading or interior staining they’re responsible for, etc. So educate them on that, then it’s easy to generate demand for the product. Don’t approach it any different; work it similar to a finance deal, with the same basic approach.”

Vecchioni summed it up with a few tips for agents to bring back to their dealers. “1. Present every product to your customers; wear and tear products, appearance products, key replacement, and tire and wheel protection are products that make sense. 2. Ensure every regulation is complied with, going over every lease agreement and the customer’s obligation to the lease – it helps set up product.”

At the end of the day, all the forecasts show leasing as increasing in the near future, with more customers seeing it as a solid financial alternative to financing, especially with so many people taking credit hits in the last few years. Agents should be stressing the importance of those lease customers to their dealers, as it is a trend that isn’t going away any time soon, and it’s a profit opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. “Agents should embrace leasing as additional opportunities that earn money,” said Crisorio. “They have to support the dealer, and support the trends in the industry. There is nothing an agent can do to stop it, so embrace it, support it, and be a true partner to your dealer and help them in any way you can.”

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