Question of the day
How fierce is the competition between captive finance companies and other lenders for your retail auto-loan business?
Don Hicks, president of Shortline Auto Group in Aurora, Colo.: "You are correct in saying there is a lot of competition. Lenders are back in business. Automobile paper performed so well, right through the recession. In 2008 and 2009 there were all of these enormous repossession problems in mortgages, but automobile paper really performed and now you have a lot of money trying to get into that space."
Neale Kuperman, president of Rockland Toyota in Blauvelt, N.Y.: "Primarily we are with Toyota Financial Services, although Chase is after us. TFS has been very, very supportive of the franchise. They buy deep for us and they buy every deal, they really do. But I may look at some of the lenders at NADA. That's one of the things I came here to look at, some of the lenders at their booths and see what their program is."
Russ Darrow, CEO of Russ Darrow Group in Menomonee Falls, Wis.: "The availability of money is so much more. We are very, very happy to see them competing. To have those lenders back is contributing to the economic recovery."
Stephen Wade, president of Stephen Wade Auto Centers
in St. George, Utah: "It's better. It is leading to what I hope will be a gradual, sustained increase. I see it in a lot of things, not just auto lending. I see it in product. There's lots of great new product coming in 2013. I see it in sales. I just had the best January I ever had. I see it in my community. Real estate has begun to recover."
Pete DeLongchamps, vice president of financial services and manufacturer relations at Group 1 Automotive Inc. in Houston: "The direct answer is yes, we are seeing that, but for us though, I put our lender strategy in two years ago. Certainly we appreciate that there is more competition, but no, we are not really signing up more lenders unless it's a credit union that's important in a particular community. For us it's the captives and the big banks: Capital One, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, Fifth Third. After that it starts getting pretty small."