When finance providers act less like lenders and more like business partners, Canadian dealerships run more smoothly, the J.D. Power 2017 Canadian Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study found.
The 19th annual study, conducted in January and February, drew on more than 3,700 finance-provider evaluations by Canadian new-vehicle dealership staffers.
The study's conclusions likely will ring familiar to U.S. F&I practitioners. But the study also ranked 10 captive and nine noncaptive finance companies based on Canadian dealerships' satisfaction with them. BMW Financial Services Inc. led all captives, while Bank of Montreal scored highest among banks and other independent finance companies.
"A dealer has multiple options," said James Houston, senior director of automotive finance at J.D. Power. "If a lender can't meet needs, they're going to look elsewhere for someone that can deliver."
Compared with previous years' studies, this year's found dealers were most satisfied when they had an assigned primary buyer or buying team to help manage consumer fulfillment, expedite sales and resolve problems. Dealers also want help from these partnerships in managing credit, financing and delivering vehicles, with the ultimate goal of getting customers into vehicles faster.
Rates, terms and credit quality — that is, what credit tiers the lender prefers — are the main differentiators F&I managers look for when choosing a lender, the study said. Timeliness in processing applications and useful interaction with sales representatives also were key factors.
Across the four factors measured by the survey — application and approval process, relationship, provider offerings and lease return — the dealer and lender relationship was the most heavily weighted this year at 55 percent. Noncaptives were not measured on lease return policies.