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J.D. Power: Frontline Lender Relationships, Not Rates, Key To Dealer Satisfaction


As auto dealers confront a rapidly changing consumer landscape in which many customers now apply for credit online before visiting a dealership, the experienced and empowered credit and sales personnel at captive and non-captive lenders are becoming critical elements in the success of an automotive finance operation.

According to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study [1], the ability to answer dealer questions correctly the first time, facilitate electronic transactions and resolve contracts quickly is key to helping dealers successfully navigate the changing marketplace.

“Dealers are able to put together more attractive, seamless transactions for their customers when they are able to work in lock-step with lenders they trust to deliver fast, accurate and competitive products,” said┬áJim Houston, senior director, Automotive Finance Intelligence at J.D. Power. “That relationship becomes more important as vehicle sales slow and more buyers may seek to secure financing outside of the dealership. Credit analysts and sales personnel perform some of the most important functions for dealers looking to match customers purchase with the right financial transaction. When these teams are available, knowledgeable and empowered, they improve dealer satisfaction and enhance the lender’s value proposition.”

The 2019 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study is based on 16,870 retail credit and 2,117 floor plan provider evaluations from dealer personnel, a 17 per cent increase in response rate from the 2018 study. The study was fielded in April-May 2019, measuring auto dealer satisfaction in three segments of lenders: non-captive, captive mass market and floor planning.

The non-captive analysis evaluates the dealer/lender relationship across three factors: relationship; provider offerings; and application/approval process. In the captive segment, four factors are evaluated: relationship; provider offerings; application/approval process; and lease return. Three factors are measured in the floor planning segment: relationship; portfolio management; and provider credit line.