Daimler is investing double-digit millions of euros in AutoGravity, a financial technology company in Irvine, Calif., that makes a vehicle leasing and financing app for smartphones. The move is part of a broader push by the carmaker to build a digital platform for financial services.
“With our investment in AutoGravity, we are now taking the strategic step of preparing the conventional financing and leasing business for digital sales channels,” Bodo Uebber, a member of Daimler's board of management who heads financing & controlling for its financial services unit, said in a statement.
With the AutoGravity app, customers can shop for a car, locate a nearby dealership that has the vehicle, choose from up to four finance or lease offers and get pre-approved. The dealership still makes dealer reserve, and the customer finalizes the transaction at the dealership to buy F&I products and take delivery of the vehicle.
Consumers in 46 states can access up to four financing offers through the company’s smartphone app, website or partnering dealership websites. AutoGravity is working on obtaining licenses in the remaining states of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Dakota, Serge Vartanov, chief marketing officer, told Automotive News on the sidelines of the American Financial Services Association’s vehicle finance conference last month.
As of late January, about 600 dealerships and more than 20 auto lenders had partnered with AutoGravity. Vartanov said the company plans to add more lending partners and may expand internationally.
Hannah Lutz and Reuters contributed to this report.