DETROIT -- Chrysler Capital, the lender created this year by Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Group, is already the top loan writer at Chrysler dealerships.
Chrysler Capital, now Chrysler's preferred finance provider, gives Chrysler dealerships a stronger lineup of loan choices for car shoppers. All of the automaker's subvented loans and leases are now done exclusively with Chrysler Capital.
Between its May 1 debut and mid-June, Chrysler Capital wrote about 21 percent of consumer loan and lease originations at Chrysler Group's 2,500 dealerships in the United States, the most of any lender, the automaker said.
"I consider that pretty strong right out of the chute," said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales at Chrysler Group. "There's a pretty thick Rolodex of financial providers that is now available to dealerships."
On May 1, Chrysler Capital replaced Ally Financial Inc. as Chrysler's preferred lender, though Ally still has an active relationship with most Chrysler dealerships.
Before Chrysler Capital, Santander had a single-digit share of business among Chrysler lenders, focusing mainly on subprime loans. Santander Consumer USA, an arm of Spain's Santander Group, owns Chrysler Capital. Chrysler Capital's credit risk is held by Santander, not Chrysler.
"At the end of the day, we want the data to show that we have helped Chrysler dealers grow through incremental car sales," said Rich Morrin, executive vice president of business development for Chrysler Capital.
Bigland said lenders are aggressively pushing into automotive finance because asset values of autos have held up better through the recession than home mortgages. Credit availability now, he said, "is the best it has ever been in the history of automotive financing."