Cox Automotive's finance platform Dealertrack is rolling out new features that allow local auto lenders to connect digitally with dealerships even if they aren't outfitted with paperless software tools.
Dealertrack Digital Contracting Choice, launched this month, allows a dealership to submit contracts digitally to lenders that rely on paper documents.
Most major auto lenders have the capacity for digital contracting, though smaller lenders may not have invested in software to support the capability, said Cheryl Miller, vice president of operations for Dealertrack F&I Solutions. The new program allows those lenders to securely access digital deals without shelling out for the software that enables it.
"The most important point is it allows the dealer to stay in a digital contracting workflow," Miller said.
Once a digital contract is finalized at the dealership, an employee submits the contract and ancillary documents into the portal. Lenders that use the tool can retrieve those documents through an emailed link, and can then print documents from the secure site.
Dealertrack's software verifies signature lines are completed and that any calculations in the paperwork are accurate. Dealerships are notified when lenders access the documents in the tool.
Supporting remote processes has never been more crucial amid a sea change at the retail level in digital retailing adoption. Vendors including Dealertrack accelerated new features aimed at enabling a paperless process for dealerships, who quickly adopted the tools while adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic's constraints on vehicle sales.
Dealership adoption of Digital Contracting Ready Sign, a tool that allows digital signatures outside of the dealership, more than doubled from July 2020 to December 2020, Dealertrack said. The number of deals signed with Ready Sign nearly tripled, and the number of eSign documents created using Ready Sign grew up to 233 percent over the same time period.