Ease of Communications Tops Dealers’ Wish List for Relationships with Lenders

What do you value most about your relationship with lending partners? Is it their finance offerings? Their reputation? Their application processes? If you’re like most dealers, it’s the speed of response and the knowledgeability of credit staff, according to a new study by J.D. Power.

The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study consolidated responses from 4,476 automotive dealers and found that across all lender segments (luxury captive, mass market captive and non-captive), as well as wholesale and retail products, the lender relationship is the heaviest-weighted driver of satisfaction.

“If lenders can ensure credit staff is readily available and knowledgeable, they will see a boost in dealer satisfaction,” said Jim Houston, Senior Director of the Automotive Finance Practice at J.D. Power. “Satisfaction declines by 163 points, on a 1,000-point scale, when dealers are not able to reach the credit staff. Additionally, if lenders can communicate the best contact for dealers to reach out to for non-traditional questions, the resolution time decreases, which will, in turn, increase dealer satisfaction.”

For the study, dealers evaluated their experiences with providers in four financing segments: prime retail credit, non-prime retail credit; retail leasing; and floor planning. Satisfaction was measured on a 1,000-point scale across seven factors: application/approval process; provider offerings; sales rep relationship; vehicle return process (retail lease); portfolio management (floor plan); floor plan support; and provider credit line (floor plan).

For the fourth year in a row, Mercedes-Benz Financial ranked at the top of the captive luxury segment. It was followed by Audi Financial Services and Infiniti Financial Services. In the captive mass market segment, Volkswagen Credit ranked the highest in overall dealer satisfaction, followed by Subaru Motors Finance and NMAC. In the non-captive segment, Citizens One Auto Finance topped the rankings in terms of overall dealer satisfaction, followed by TD Auto Finance and Chase Automotive Finance. Finally, for floor plans, TD Auto Finance ranked the highest, followed by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Volkswagen Credit.

What do these companies have in common? Maximum support for auto dealers, according to J.D. Power.

“It is imperative that financing providers understand the needs of dealers and take the appropriate steps to meet their expectations,” said the report’s authors. “Knowing why dealers are satisfied or dissatisfied with their auto financing provider and what competing providers are doing to satisfy their dealers are both critical to your organization’s ability to attract and retain business.”