After almost a year piloting digital retailing tools from financial technology company Modal at about a dozen Nissan dealerships, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. is preparing to expand the partnership to as many as 100 dealerships.
Nissan's captive lender forged the partnership with Modal, a car-shopping and financing platform for dealership websites, at the beginning of 2019, according to NMAC President Kevin Cullum. Using software from Modal, which was known as Drive Motors until June, dealership customers can submit finance applications directly to lenders.
Rollout of the technology has been slow but promising, Cullum told Automotive News.
"The evolution of online credit applications and approvals has been coming for some time. So we did some research," Cullum said. "We narrowed down to a couple of players, and Modal was one of them. ... It is a win-win relationship."
Cullum declined to give a specific timetable for the expansion other than to say it would be "in a fairly short order."
Dealership websites enabled with Modal have a checkout feature that consumers can use to structure a deal before finalizing and taking delivery of the vehicle at the store, Modal executives have said. Consumers can submit information in five to 10 minutes, even when the dealership is closed. That information will then transfer to a dealership's finance-and-insurance platform, saving time when the customer enters the store.
The NMAC-Modal arrangement is one example of an emerging trend of captive lenders partnering with financial technology companies to expand the availability of digital retailing tools to consumers. Modal maintains a similar partnership with Ally Financial.