One dealership executive, who declined to be identified, said his company recently switched to another bank for its floorplans and mortgages. The other bank, he said, has "more of an appetite for the automotive business." The company still uses Chrysler Capital at times on lease deals, he said, but not as much as before.
His group had no conflicts with Santander but felt it was time for a change.
"They they got a little skittish when it came to subprime. They used to buy great, and then they slowed down," the executive said.
Other dealers are all-in on the Chrysler Capital brand.
Steven Wolf, dealer principal at Helfman Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Houston, said the company is a pro at measuring risk and believes he sells more vehicles as a result. He said the company uses computer algorithms that determine risks, fees and rates, so, "if you've got a deal, it can get put together."
"There's a lot of pros and cons of having a true captive," Wolf said, "but I think this is about as close as to being a captive as you can have.
"To me, the disadvantage of a captive is its use of capital that could be used instead for building new and great products. If you've got a limited amount of capital, do you want to fund the finance company, or do you want to design and build a whole bunch of new, great products?" Wolf said. "I'd rather have the products and then have this relationship that they have, so I get the best of both worlds."
Vince Bond Jr. contributed to this report.