A mobile app that allows customers to lease new vehicles online directly from dealerships has updated its technology platform — and its name — as it prepares to expand into more U.S. markets.
Rodo, previously known as Honcker , said it aims to triple the number of dealerships that participate on its platform by the end of next year.
It's an ambitious goal for the retail technology startup, which launched in 2016 and today operates in 15 markets across the country. Nathan Hecht, Rodo's founder and CEO, said the target is achievable as car shopping increasingly goes digital.
"This is still the very, very beginning of a paradigm shift, if you will, in the way American consumers think about the way they acquire a car," Hecht told Automotive News.
The company simultaneously rolled out a pricing engine it developed that incorporates real-time data about rebates, incentives and other discounts to give consumers a monthly lease payment tailored to them and the type of vehicle they're browsing. Hecht said the technology makes the leasing process more transparent by showing customers their best available deal, eliminating the need for haggling in person.
Through Rodo, dealerships offer access to new-vehicle inventory, while consumers place orders electronically with the dealership for processing and delivery.
Rodo, of New York, counts roughly 350,000 downloads of its mobile app, Hecht said. He declined to disclose the number of completed transactions to date. About 1,000 dealerships have signed on, Hecht said. It operates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Florida and parts of Nevada, Arizona and Texas, as well as in the cities of Chicago, Boston and Atlanta.
The app is free for consumers. Dealerships pay Rodo $299 to $499 for each completed lease, Hecht said.
He said Rodo wants to have 3,000 dealerships signed up by the end of 2020, adding roughly five new markets every three to six months. The company plans to grow, he said, by adding sales personnel and through word-of-mouth inquiries from dealerships, plus future partnerships with companies that could market Rodo to their dealership networks. Hecht would not name prospective partners because he said deals aren't signed.
The company has more than 50 employees. Hecht declined to disclose revenue.
Rodo's latest expansion follows the launch of a partnership in April with used-car retailer Carvana that allows customers to sell vehicles to Carvana while leasing a new vehicle with Rodo. Carvana spokeswoman Amy O'Hara told Automotive News the company is "pleased Rodo is a partner" as it works to buy more vehicles directly from consumers.
Hecht said Carvana pays Rodo an undisclosed fee for each vehicle sold through the app.