JIM HENRY

TD Auto Finance had a big year; it needs another

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive NewsJim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News
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TD Auto Finance, which includes the former Chrysler Financial, is on a roll.

Through the third quarter of 2011, TD Auto Finance's U.S. market share more than doubled from the same period last year, but it was still barely above 1 percent, according to Experian Automotive. To put that in context, No. 1 Ally Financial had a 7 percent share of the highly fragmented automotive-financing market.

The market share growth largely reflects TD Bank Group's April 2011 purchase of Chrysler Financial from Cerberus Capital Management for $6.3 billion. TD's auto finance unit was renamed TD Auto Finance after the acquisition.

Chrysler Financial was kicked to the curb in 2009 when the U.S. government bailed out General Motors, Chrysler and GMAC, which is now Ally Financial.

Without a government lifeline, Chrysler Financial continued to serve its existing portfolio of loans, but it shrank in size as loans were paid off faster than new loans could be originated.

Most of TD Auto's business is coming from Chrysler dealers with whom Chrysler Financial used to do business. And with Chrysler Group's U.S. sales up 25 percent through November, the coattails have proved long for TD Auto.

The new TD Auto Finance has said it hopes to generate around $20 billion in auto loans and leases by 2014. Through October, its U.S. auto portfolio was just under half that size -- at $9.8 billion.

To get to $20 billion that fast, TD Auto Finance will need to get even hotter in 2012.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com.

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