JIM HENRY

The brave new world of F&I apps

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
Customers already can make payments, check account balances and find the nearest dealership through a Mercedes-Benz Financial app. Mini and BMW have a Roadside Assistance app. And Chrysler's recently introduced app for the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee largely provides vehicle information but also includes a link to get information about extended service contracts.

I figure it's only a matter of time before other captives and finance and insurance companies enter this new world.

I wouldn't be surprised if Chrysler's preferred lender, GMAC Financial Services, soon launches apps for Chrysler and General Motors brands. Ford Credit and other competitors won't be far behind.

After all, insurance giant Nationwide Corp. already provides auto loan quotes to customers through its Cartopia app.

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