What is the biggest threat to the traditional auto finance model today?
Craig Lamp, executive vice president, Citizens One Auto Finance: "It's the accessibility of information online and consumer preferences. They want to shop online at a convenient time, find the information and possibly even transact. ... I just think it's the convenience factor."
Doug Timmerman, CEO, Ally Financial: "Competition is going to be pretty steady, to be honest with you. If you look at auto sales in total, it's going to be pretty consistent with what we saw in 2019. New will be down a little bit. I think used will be up a little bit."
Jim Houston, managing director of consumer lending and automotive finance, J.D. Power: "The current threat is margins. The profitability of finance companies; the competition is very, very stout. We've seen only a couple of lenders leave the marketplace in several years, so the competition remains pretty, pretty stiff. There'll be a little bit of what happens in the subprime markets as people try to dig a little bit deeper to create a higher margin for themselves."
Bill Himpler, CEO, American Financial Services Association: "I don't think I'd characterize it as a threat as much as a combination of challenge and opportunity — is dealing with the next generation of customers and how they want to engage. We have to meet them where they're at and we've got to figure out how to do that."
Mike Buckingham, senior director of automotive finance, J.D. Power: "Subscription has blown up; you can stick the fork in that because it's the math. Everybody wants to do it, but it's kind of like no one wants to pay for it. ... The only threat is that you look at someone like Tesla who now is getting approved to do more with their franchises, direct to consumer. The direct-to-consumer models, some of these electrified people, that may change some of the dynamics wherein you don't have the traditional F&I department."
Joy Falotico, president, Lincoln Motor Co.: "The challenges we see are probably not new challenges: cyber risks, data protections, new laws around that. Making sure we're staying vigilant, protecting customer data and those things that the industry is aware of and is working on and paying close attention to."
Celia Winslow, senior vice president, American Financial Services Association: "People want to pay electronically and they want to do it quickly. And so it's going to be finding ways to help to make that system a little bit faster and a little bit more technological."