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Ford Credit Invests in Online Car-Buying Platform

January 23, 2017

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Credit Co. is ushering its dealers into the Digital Age through a new connection with fintech firm AutoFi, which has developed a platform that allows car buyers to purchase and finance a new-vehicle purchase right from a dealership’s website on a desktop computer or mobile device.

Ford Credit also announced it has made an investment in San Francisco-based AutoFi and its platform, which is currently in use at Ricart Ford in Groveport, Ohio. It will be rolled out over time to more Ford and Lincoln dealerships across the United States, officials said.

“By combining our fast and efficient credit-decision process with AutoFi’s online capability, we are making the customer experience faster, smoother and simpler,” said Lee Jelenic, Ford Credit director of mobility. “With its experience in used-vehicle online financing and a well-developed platform, AutoFi makes it easier for us to adopt new technology quickly to meet evolving consumer expectations.”

The captive included a stat from an online survey Harris Poll conducted on its behalf. It showed that 83% of the 1,000 Americans surveyed prefer to spend as little time at the dealership as possible when shopping for or buying a car. The finance source noted that many of those same people still want to touch and feel their new vehicle before signing on the dotted line. According to Ford Credit officials, AutoFi provides the best of both worlds.

At Ricart Ford, customers can shop for a new Ford in the showroom or from anywhere via the dealership’s website. After selecting a vehicle, they can apply for credit and receive a decision, choose the financing terms that make sense to them and then review and select optional vehicle protection products — completely online and on their own time.

Once customers complete the online portion of the transaction and review a final summary of the financing terms, they are asked to schedule a time to visit the dealership to complete the transaction and take delivery of the vehicle.

“AutoFi’s platform will help cut the time people spend arranging financing and improve the experience dealerships can deliver for their customers, no matter where they are in the car-buying journey,” said AutoFi CEO Kevin Singerman. “We think this will be a game changer for both consumers and dealers, and we are thrilled to work with Ford Credit to make this happen.”

For more on AutoFi, click here.

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