This feature first appeared in the August issue of Auto Finance News.
Automotive OEMs are seeking new ways to meet an escalation in consumer expectations for a seamless and enhanced online car-buying experience as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Mazda Financial Services, the recently established private label financing arm for Mazda North America, for one, is looking to meet its customers at the digital door.
Direct loan originations for Nicholas Financial increased 18% year over year to $2.4 million in principal balances in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021 that ends June 30, according to the company’s earnings report. While direct loans increased, indirect loans fell 11.9% YoY to $16.8 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital automotive marketplace TrueCar is selling its data analytics subsidiary ALG for $135 million to consumer intelligence company J.D. Power after multiple parties expressed interest in the brand during the past six months, TrueCar spokeswoman Shadee Malekafzali told Auto Finance News
Alfa is launching Alfa Start — a preconfigured edition of the company’s software platform, Alfa Systems — to streamline its delivery and make the product accessible and affordable to more auto lenders.
So far, Alfa is already integrating Alfa Start with two new lenders: a start up, and another with about 30,000 contracts, according to Simon Clark, director of business development at Alfa.
Polaris Inc. inventory levels fell 47% from last quarter, the lowest recorded in over 20 years in the North American division, said Chief Executive and Chairman Scott Wine in an earnings call last week. The reduced inventory may be attributed to a spike of new customers flooding into the powersports industry as well as slowed production, he added.
Nearly 75% of sales in the second quarter were customers new to Polaris, Wine said. “Our core customers are great, but they’re somewhat insular. As we bring these new customers in, they are more likely to invite their friends to come along for a ride, they are more likely to be in line for a second vehicle over time.”
Nikola Motor Company has made waves in the automotive market since it penetrated the industry and launched its IPO in early June. In fact, the electric-vehicle manufacturer secured a $34 billion market capitalization on its first day of trading, and surpassed Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in market cap shortly afterward.