Ford Launches Online Car-Buying Platform With Plans to Include AutoFi Finance Options

Ford is introducing Ready.Shop.Go. — an online car-shopping experience. (Photo: Business Wire)

Ford Motor Co. has debuted its Ready.Shop.Go. online car-shopping platform, which will eventually include customizable purchase and lease options powered by AutoFi, the OEM announced today.

The digital platform allows customers to search inventory, view pricing and incentives, lock in a deal for 48 hours (subject to vehicle availability), apply for financing, estimate trade-in values, and schedule a test drive, according to a company press release.

Future iterations will include finance options powered by AutoFi, a fintech company in which Ford Motor Credit Co. invested an undisclosed amount of money in last year. Ford Credit partnered and invested in AutoFi in January 2017 in order to support “technological advances to make the financing experience better,” according to a previous press release.  

Additionally, AutoFi raised $10 million in Series A funding last August, which included existing investors Crosslink Capital, Ford Credit, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

“The goal with Ready.Shop.Go. was to develop a convenient, transparent car-shopping experience that would work best for Ford customers,” a company spokeswoman told Auto Finance News, without divulging specifics regarding the OEM’s reasoning for building a platform rather than buying or partnering with a third-party provider. The spokeswoman also declined to offer the timeline for the AutoFi iteration.

“We’re working very closely with Ford on this integration and look forward to rolling it out when it’s ready,” Justin Hamilton, a spokesman for AutoFi, told AFN. “We’re helping to power online sales and finance at dealerships across the county, and the reception from customers has been very clear: They want car buying to be fast, transparent, and on on their terms. That’s exactly what AutoFi does.”

Customers using Ford’s Ready.Shop.Go. platform can apply for financing through Ford Credit, but will also be able to remotely review and digitally execute contracts with the captive in the future, according to today’s release.

The platform is launching in several Midwestern states this month, before becoming available nationwide by yearend. “A large number of dealerships covering several states participated in the pilot,” the spokeswoman said. “Dealers are not required to enroll in Ready.Shop.Go., it is optional.”

The platform offers pricing transparency, allowing dealers to set vehicle pricing, including taxes and fees; personalized incentives; and pricing comparison, where consumers can review prices with the Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor. Additional features include the ability for consumers to save a deal and return later to complete the process, and the assignment of a single point of contact on the dealer end to ensure the experience is well managed, according to the release.

Currently, the platform does not enable customers to pay their monthly loan or lease, nor does it include Ford Credit’s Canvas monthly subscription program offerings, the spokeswoman said.

The decision to launch the platform was, in part, informed by 57% of people ages 30 to 44 and 63% of people ages 18 to 29 saying they are more impatient today than they were in the past, according to a Looking Further With Ford 2017 Trends study. Additionally, 54% of those surveyed consider surfing the internet a productive use of time.

“As we worked with our dealers to develop Ready.Shop.Go., it was important to make sure the experience benefited both our customers and our dealers,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service, said in the release. “This experience delivers the functionality and flexibility customers need to select a vehicle at their preferred dealership, then apply for financing before ever stepping into a showroom, saving both customers and dealers valuable time.”

For more content like this, attend the Auto Finance Performance & Compliance event, slated for May 9-10, at the Omni Dallas. For information, or to register, visit

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MotoLease Launches Leasing Program to Simplify Finance Process for Dealers

MotoLease LLC launched a new leasing program last month to replace all of its existing programs, in an effort to simplify the finance structure for dealers, Powersports Finance has learned.

Program 2.0, as its called, includes low cash due at signing, a reduced acquisition fee, no GPS fee, and no security deposit, according to a MotoLease dealer newsletter.

MotoLease previously offered several programs, including its leasing program catered to franchise dealers and an Express Program for financing low-dollar powersports vehicles.

Now, however, the leasing provider has consolidated these programs under one umbrella to simplify the process for dealers and offer “one program, good for every price point,” MotoLease’s Managing Partner Emre Ucer told Powersports Finance.

The program was designed to cater to every vehicle. “The reason we [launched this program] is because dealers are bombarded with so many programs and options,” Ucer said. “It’s hard for dealers to keep track of how everything works. Our goal here was to simplify the process as much as possible for the dealers, and one way of simplifying things is reducing the number of options or programs to make it easier to understand.”

Program 2.0 features MotoLease’s new MotoCoin Rewards Program, which launched March 1, and the company’s proprietary scoring model M-Score 2.0. MotoLease improved the accuracy of its internal credit forecasting model — called M-Score 2.0 — last month by using machine learning techniques and alternative data.

The motivation behind the program change — in addition to simplifying the finance process for dealers — is to reduce the cash due at signing and make monthly payments more affordable for consumers.

“Our goal was to reduce the cash due at signing because that is the number one complaint from consumers,” Ucer said. “We are very systematic about it; we analyze our conversion rates — meaning how many approvals we provided and how many fundings happened — and the number one reason for somebody not converting from approval to funding is the amount of cash needed at the time of origination.”

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Veros Credit VP to Offer Insight Into Collections at Performance & Compliance Event

At Courtesy of Veros Credit

At the upcoming Auto Finance Performance & Compliance Summit, Robert Tennant, vice president and general counsel for Veros Credit LLC, will offer a deep-dive into collection compliance during a presentation entitled “Inside Collection Compliance.”

The conference will take place May 9 and 10 at the Omni Dallas.

Tennant will speak about current trends in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation, how companies should prepare for ramped up activity and scrutiny from state regulators, and the critical issues surrounding servicemember collections.
Veros Credit finances consumer loans for new and used-motor vehicles in the nonprime and subprime space. Tennant helped form Veros Credit in 2010, which began as a regional company focusing on the Southern California market and now operates in 18 states. He has built a legal team of associate attorneys, specialists and staff, handling hundreds of litigation files, transactions, and all other legal issues at Veros. He also created and oversees Veros Credit’s compliance department to ensure that the company successfully navigates the complex regulatory and legal issues in the consumer finance industry.

Other sessions on the agenda include Auto Finance Economics & Climbing Yields; Portfolio Management to Strengthen Underwriting; Practical Guidance for Developing a Compliance Program; and Practical Strategies for Fighting Fraud.

The Auto Finance Performance & Compliance Summit is the essential industry event for education and networking focused on best practices in operations, management, and compliance. Formerly the “Auto Finance Risk & Compliance Summit,” this revamped event offers a top-notch conference experience tailored toward professionals motivated to explore new trends and network with the most influential decision-makers in the industry.

The Auto Finance Performance & Compliance Summit’s blend of panels and presentations are designed to educate attendees of every level on key issues. To register, or to learn more about the 2018 event, visit the event homepage here.

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Axis Auto Finance Doubles Portfolio in Latest Acquisition

© Can Stock Photo / Gajus

Axis Auto Finance, a Canadian subprime auto finance company, acquired fellow subprime lessor Trend Financial in a deal that will double Axis’ portfolio size to approximately $110 million, the lenders announced last week.

The transaction is valued at $29.3 million and is expected to close around April 2.

Axis and Trend were formerly competitors operating in the same market. Axis likened the relationship between the two companies as the “Pepsi and Coke” of the subprime auto finance market in Ontario, founder and President Ilja Troitschanski told Auto Finance News.

While the two lenders share a dealer overlap of about 75%, Axis wanted to acquire Trend because it filled many of the check marks Axis looks for in a company.

“When we look at acquisitions, the things we’re looking at are size, culture, the portfolio, and marketshare,” Troitschanski said. “[Acquiring Trend Financial] lets us increase scale by doubling the portfolio, we connected to double our revenue base, and we now have two sales teams that used to compete against each other, who now can work together to hit more dealerships and drive more origination.”

Trend Financial is an independent, subprime auto finance company headquartered in Ontario. Since its inception in 2012, it has originated over $125 million in consumer automotive loans and, as of Jan. 31, the company had net loans receivables totaling approximately $54 million.

Axis plans to extend nationwide by yearend and has been acquiring companies to achieve this goal. Earlier this year, Axis acquired Cars on Credit Financial, a Canadian independent, nonprime auto lender, for $11 million in cash. At the time, the acquisition doubled Axis’ portfolio to nearly $60 million.

For more content like this, attend the Auto Finance Performance & Compliance event, slated for May 9-10, at the Omni Dallas. For information, or to register, visit

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Bipartisan Group Introduces Bill to Rename CFPB, Replace Director With 5-Person Commission

Photo by Bryce Spivey / CFPB Via Flickr

A bipartisan group of two Democrats and two Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced a bill yesterday that would replace the single director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with a five-person commission.

The bill, from Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), would rename the CFPB to the Financial Product Safety Commission and replace its director with a bipartisan panel.

The commissioners would be appointed by the president — with the consent of the Senate — but the president can remove a member for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance,” according to the proposed bill. No more than three commissioners can be from the same political party.

The bill is an effort to curb the CFPB director’s sole control over the agency’s authority; Republicans have long claimed that the bureau is too powerful. However, the bill is likely to be filibustered by Democrats who have openly protested changes to the bureau.

The CFPB, established in 2013, has issued a slew of regulations and enforcement actions against financial companies, including auto lenders, under former Director Richard Cordray. One of the most high-profile cases Cordray led was a $185 million fine of Wells Fargo & Co. for the bank’s fake checking accounts scandal in 2016. Last year, Wells Fargo Dealer Services admitted to falsely charging consumers for insurance they did not need, and Cordray has said the bureau is investigating those actions.

While many Democrats praised Cordray for oversight of lenders, Republicans contended the bureau often overstepped its boundaries.

Additionally, several associations have praised the bill, saying a five-person commission would provide more balance and stability.

“It is beyond comprehension to give a single director nearly unilateral authority over every consumer and financial institution in the country,” Richard Hunt, president and chief executive of the Consumer Bankers Association, said in a statement. “We applaud this bipartisan solution establishing a Senate-confirmed, bipartisan commission — like nearly all other regulatory agencies in the country — to bring greater stability and balance to the CFPB. A commission prevents the regulatory pendulum from swinging wildly back-and-forth every time a new person sits in the Oval Office and will help ensure the CFPB fulfills its mission of consumer protection.”

The bill has the support of several other financial groups, including the American Bankers Association, American Land Title Association, Credit Union National Association, National Association of Federal Credit Unions and the Financial Services Roundtable.

“We thank the Senators who put party politics aside and listened to credit union stakeholders around the country to support a bill that will greatly benefit credit unions and the 110 million members they serve,” Jim Nussle, president and chief executive of the Credit Union National Association, said in a statement. “We’re grateful to see both sides come together to pass a meaningful piece of regulatory reform legislation, and CUNA will continue its engagement to see this positive momentum and see the bill move through the House. This is a great step forward, but we need to continue to make out voices heard to get this bill through the House and across the finish line.”

The bill was sent to the House Financial Services Committee for consideration.

For more content like this, attend the Auto Finance Performance & Compliance event, slated for May 9-10, at the Omni Dallas. For information, or to register, visit

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Groupe PSA Scouts Innovative Partners Following Return to North America

Larry Dominique, president and chief executive at Group PSA North America, sits down for a “fireside chat” at Auto Finance Innovation 2018 in San Francisco. (Photo by

SAN FRANCISCO — Auto manufacturer Groupe PSA North America is scouting for innovative technology partners to scale its mobility services, following its return to the U.S. after a 26-year hiatus, President and Chief Executive Larry Dominique told attendees at Auto Finance Innovation 2018 last week.

Groupe PSA — which manufactures Peugeot, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Opel, and Vauxhall brands — last month opened its new North American headquarters in Atlanta.

In April 2016, Groupe PSA announced its return to the U.S. market with a three-phase plan: aggregated mobility services, integration of Groupe PSA’s vehicles into those services, and then retail sales. The first step has been already initiated with Free2Move aggregation platform launched in October 2017 in Seattle. This application allows users to choose between a wide range of car-, scooter-, and bike-sharing transportation services.

“Because consumer expectations evolve so rapidly, the evolution and growth of mobility is starting to take off as well,” Dominique said. “The goal was, let’s first launch with our mobility services [in North America] … understand the data, understand the consumer motivations, where is car ownership going, and what are the different models … such as subscription, leasing, and financing. We want to take our time, understand the market, work on the data and infrastructure, and learn how a brand like one of ours can interact with consumers in a much more meaningful way, not just for the point of sale but for the life of the consumer journey.”

As such, Groupe PSA North America wants to partner “with innovative people” to enhance the customer journey and advance the OEM’s mobility services initiatives, he said.

“What we are trying to do right now is identifying all the different modalities of our business,” he told attendees. “Who are the innovative thinkers? Who are the ones thinking out-of-the-box that could partner with us to come up with a new solution for how we distribute cars, how we [sell] cars, the digital experience, and on the parts and service side? All those elements are ripe for innovation. What I am doing right now with my team is, we are spending a lot of time reaching out … looking for innovative partners. I feel like we are casting a wide net. If you feel you have innovation, we’d love to talk to you.”

Groupe PSA’s global mobility brand Free2Move was launched in September 2016. The brand unites all of the OEM’s mobility solutions, including the Free2Move suite of Carsharing, Smart Services, Fleet Sharing, Fleet Management, and Lease.

For more content like this, attend the Auto Finance Performance & Compliance event, slated for May 9-10, at the Omni Dallas. For information, or to register, visit

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TD Auto Finance Expands Floorplanning Nationwide

© Can Stock Photo / Apriori

TD Auto Finance is expanding its commercial floorplan business nationwide and aligning the program more closely with its indirect model, the company announced today.

The expansion will take the program across the continental U.S., rather than just the east coast and midwest, where the company currently operates. No timetable for the expansion was given.

“Dealer principals are looking for lenders who understand the full range of their business needs,” Anne Kline, head of TD Auto Finance Commercial Services, said in the press release. “The commercial loan products are an integral piece of a dealership’s operations. Our dealer relationship managers have a deep knowledge of all facets of automotive finance and we are eager to bring this expertise to our expanded footprint.”

Last week, TD Auto Finance announced a partnership with the online marketplace AutoGravity, where TD will now compete to fund loans for the platform’s more than 1 million users. However, this is not the end for the bank’s digital expansion in the auto finance space, Chris Howard, TD Auto Finance’s head of U.S. product, told Auto Finance News last week.

“As we look at the space, it’s certainly exciting to announce this partnership with AutoGravity and looking to the future I’d say we’re continuing to look at other offers and opportunities,” Howard said. “From our standpoint, this is an opportunity to add an alternative channel for credit applications that are not available to us today through this platform.”

Andrew Stuart, president and chief executive of TD Auto Finance, echoed that sentiment in the press release today noting that the expansion “signifies TD’s strong commitment to the auto space and our desire to offer a full suite of products and commercial lending to our dealer network across the U.S.”

For more content like this, attend the Auto Finance Performance & Compliance event, slated for May 9-10, at the Omni Dallas. For information, or to register, visit

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Capital One to Bring Augmented Reality to Financing App

© Can Stock Photo / gongzstudio

Capital One Auto Finance will launch a new feature on its pre-qualification app Auto Navigator in the coming months that will allow consumers to scan cars they see on the streets to see estimated financing offers, the company announced at SXSW last week.  

A lot of car shopping is done by browsing online, but many will spot a vehicle they like while walking down the street, the company said. This new augmented reality feature allows consumers to use their phone’s camera to identify a vehicle’s make and model and serve up financing information on the spot.  

“This could include information such as their pre-qualified financing, their estimated monthly payment, nearby dealerships where they could buy the car, and much more,” Sanjiv Yajnik, president of financial services, and Curtis Campbell, managing vice president of product, wrote in a Medium post. “Imagine customers being able to get access to this type of individualized information at the point of need, real-time!”

Capital One is using Apple and Google’s augmented reality framework as well as the lender’s own proprietary technology to identify the vehicles.

“We’ve optimized the experience so customers can scan multiple cars in a session, and get more information about a car they’ve already scanned,” the authors wrote. “We then utilize Capital One’s proprietary models to customize the offer so they can see their estimated monthly payment.”

The feature was inspired, in part, by a survey Capital One commissioned, which found that 50% of people report researching and buying a car is more time-consuming than deciding where to go to college and choosing a baby name. Additionally, 62% of car buyers are not fully confident they got a great deal the last time they bought a car, and 78% of Americans admit the last time they bought a car, they lost confidence that they would get the car they wanted during the shopping process.

“What we realized as we dug deeper into the car-shopping process, is that some people are left discouraged, realizing the payments are (much) more than they expected because the total cost of ownership is larger than the price of the car,” the authors wrote. “But oftentimes they don’t know this at the beginning of the shopping process when they set their hearts on a particular car.”

Capital One launched Auto Navigator in 2015 and has been growing its auto portfolio lately. In the fourth quarter, Capital One surpassed Wells Fargo Auto to become the third largest automotive bank lender in the market with a $54 billion portfolio.   

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Fair Wins DEMOvation Challenge at Auto Finance Innovation

Photo by Fair

SAN FRANCISCO — Used-leasing app Fair took home the top prize at today’s Auto Finance Innovation 2018 DEMOvation challenge, edging out eight other startups.

The DEMOvations offer an opportunity for innovative companies to demonstrate their products in front of a wide audience of auto lending and leasing executives.

Fair, which launched last September, allows customers to shop for cars based on a prequalified monthly payment range, and includes the flexibility to walk away from the vehicle with only five-days’ notice.

The company acquired Los Angeles-based car delivery startup Skurt in February, and Uber Technologies Inc.’s Xchange Leasing book in January.

The company is nearing 200 employees to service its nationwide rollout. Other startups that participated in the DEMOvation challenge were Arcade City Inc., Carma Car, Carvoy, DriveInformed, Outside Financial, Payix Inc., PushAuto, and Trusted.Sale.

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Speaker Faculty Continues to Grow for Performance & Compliance Summit

Rifco’s Doug Decksheimer and Regions’ Thomas Lazenby, two panelists for the Auto Finance Performance & Compliance Summit.

Four auto lending executives have joined the Auto Finance Performance & Compliance Summit speaker roster to give their insights on forming seamless and open dealer relationships.

The conference will take place May 9-10, at the Omni Dallas.

The panel entitled “Dealer Relationship Strategies” will include Doug Decksheimer, vice president and chief marketing officer of Rifco National Auto Finance Inc.; Cindy Hall, dealer relationship manager for SunTrust Banks; Thomas Lazenby, senior vice president and  head of dealer financial services at Regions Dealer Financial Services; and Tim Sullivan, national sales executive of dealer services at U.S. Bank.

The panelists will discuss the best practices for dealer segmentation, scoring and risk management. Amid rising losses across the industry, the speakers will discuss ways to bring down delinquencies, improve performance, and offer fresh ideas for loyalty programs.

Improving communication between lenders and dealers has also become a compliance issue, as state attorneys general look into GAP policies and other service contracts.

Decksheimer joined Rifco in 2005 and has helped grow the company as one of Canada’s largest non-chartered bank lenders in the nonprime space. Prior to Rifco, Decksheimer spent 16 years marketing technology and software solutions to global companies in the food industry.

Hall has held several positions during her 27-year career in the auto lending space. Before landing at SunTrust Banks in July 2017, she worked as regional sales manager for Flagship Credit Acceptance, area sales manager for Citizens Bank, and going back to the 1990s held roles at CitiFinancial’s auto division and at Chase Auto Finance.

In 2010 Lazenby joined Regions, where he is responsible for the indirect and direct automotive lending strategy, relations management, product development, pricing, operations, and indirect affinity-based products. Prior to joining Regions, Lazenby served as executive vice president for BBVA Compass as head of various consumer and small business lending groups.

Sullivan came to U.S. Bank in 2015 on the heels of a 23-year career with Bank of America. Just this month, he helped form U.S. Bank’s partnership with the car marketplace AutoGravity, which provides the technology for indirect loans to be booked directly on the lender’s website.

Other sessions on the agenda include Auto Finance Economics & Climbing Yields; Portfolio Management to Strengthen Underwriting; Practical Guidance for Developing a Compliance Program; and Practical Strategies for Fighting Fraud.

The Auto Finance Performance & Compliance Summit is the essential industry event for education and networking focused on best practices in operations, management, and compliance. Formerly the “Auto Finance Risk & Compliance Summit,” this revamped event offers a top-notch conference experience tailored toward professionals motivated to explore new trends and network with the most influential decision-makers in the industry.

The Auto Finance Performance & Compliance Summit’s blend of panels and presentations are designed to educate attendees of every level on key issues. To register, or to learn more about the 2018 event, visit the event homepage here.

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