RouteOne LLC rolls out its online credit application system today, Nov. 3, to dealerships that use Ford Credit and General Motors Acceptance Corp.
The idea behind RouteOne is simple: Instead of dealers using many systems to reach captives, banks and credit unions, they use just one.
Dealer Jack TerHar has been testing the system for about 30 days - long enough to convince him to forget the fax. Instead of faxing a credit application to Ford Motor Credit Co., his dealerships in Broomfield, Colo., sends it over RouteOne's Web-based credit-management system.
TerHar, of Sill-TerHar Motors, is one of 10 dealers who have been testing the system. TerHar has Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Volvo and Aston Martin franchises north of Denver.
Ford Credit, GMAC and DaimlerChrysler Services formed RouteOne in January 2002. Toyota Financial Services joined the Big 3 captive finance companies as a partner in June 2002.
DaimlerChrysler Services and Toyota Financial will join the system late in the first quarter of 2004. The rollout will be done by regions with the Atlanta area first, says Mike Jurecki, CEO at RouteOne and former director of operations at Ford Credit.
Dealers will not pay to use the system; RouteOne will sell its services to financial institutions.
Dealers have sent credit application data by fax, telephone and e-mails, TerHar says.
"This will free up my finance people to spend more time with the customers," TerHar says. "It's also going to allow us to get a quicker response from the bank."
Twenty-two captives and banks have said they will use the RouteOne system. Dealers can access the system through the RouteOne Web site or through a link on their captive finance company's Web site.
One of the advantages is the finance manager's ability to spray a credit application to multiple finance sources at once, says Gordon Stewart, dealer principal of Stewart Management Group in Garden City, Mich.
Stewart Group has Chevrolet dealerships in Garden City and in Tampa and Orange Park, Fla., and a Toyota dealership in Birmingham, Ala.
The RouteOne system knows what each captive or bank requires from the dealer. So a finance manager in a dealership can save time by filling in only the required fields on the Web-based credit application, Stewart says.
"The last day of July we delivered 92 units in one day in Garden City - talk about administrative nightmares," Stewart says. "You don't have to finish the whole credit application; you just take the information that bank's going to need and send it. Anything that saves two minutes or three minutes per transaction is a godsend."
RouteOne will be integrated with dealer management systems from the leading vendors by spring 2004.