Dealers are still waiting for e-contracting to get a complete jacket. Deal jacket, that is.
Only parts of most vehicle transactions can be completed electronically. Others are still in the world of paper forms.
That's one of the key reasons why less than 10 percent of dealers nationally engage heavily in paperless transactions, said Terry O'Loughlin, director of compliance in the documents business at Reynolds and Reynolds Co.
They want to transact and record sales either in paper or electronically, O'Loughlin said. But they don't want deals done in both because of the inconvenience of completing the forms in different mediums and having to store them in different places.
The typical deal jacket -- the complete packet of transactional documents for a vehicle sale or lease -- breaks down fundamentally into four parts:
1. Vehicle contract sent to underwriters.
2. Documents that protect a dealer and consumer, such as lemon-law information, limited right to cancel, etc.
3. Registration and title documents sent to state motor vehicle departments.
4. Documents pertaining to aftermarket products, such as extended warranties, asset protection, etc.
Where e-contracting has made the most progress is in electronic credit applications, contract validation and the transmission of contracts to financial institutions, O'Loughlin said.
States, on the other hand, have varying capabilities to handle electronic rather than paper forms, he said. And many third-party vendors of ancillary aftermarket products also want their documents in paper.
Until those recipients change their document-handling processes, e-contracting's growth will be constrained.