DETROIT — Auto originations slipped slightly for Ally Financial Inc. in the fourth quarter, driven down by fewer used-vehicle originations, despite substantial gains in lease originations and loans for General Motors vehicles.
Ally, one of the largest auto lenders in the U.S., originated $8.1 billion in automotive contracts in the fourth quarter, the company said Wednesday. That dipped 1.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2018.
Used-vehicle originations fell 9.3 percent to $3.9 billion in the fourth quarter. Used-vehicle originations made up 49 percent of total originations, sliding beneath 50 percent for the first time in seven quarters.
Loans for new GM vehicles climbed 9.1 percent to $1.2 billion, while Fiat Chrysler originations were flat at $800 million. Ally's growth channel, which consists of business with franchised dealerships that sell brands other than those owned by Fiat Chrysler or General Motors, fell 9.1 percent to $1 billion in the fourth quarter, according to a statement.
Lease originations rose 50 percent to $1.2 billion, up from $800 million in fourth-quarter 2018.
Overall new-vehicle loan originations were flat at $3 billion.
Ally's total auto loan volume reached $72.4 billion in the quarter, up 2.6 percent from prior-year figures, the company said.
Ally's net income jumped 30 percent to $378 million in the fourth quarter. Revenue of $1.6 billion reflected a 14 percent increase.
Ally originated $36.3 billion in auto loans and leases in 2019, an increase of 2.5 percent from 2018.
Ally CEO Jeffrey Brown said on a call with investors that strong customer engagement drove results, particularly with franchised dealerships.
"We increased volume despite slowing new-vehicle industry sales. This was fueled by a record 12.6 million decision applications," Brown said. "Our dealer base has expanded for 23 straight quarters, resulting in relationships with over 90 percent of U.S. franchised dealers."
Net income rose 36 percent to $1.71 billion for Ally in 2019. Revenue for the lender reached $6.3 billion, up 5 percent year over year.