High Levels of Dealer Satisfaction Translates to Additional Business for Lenders

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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Oct. 7, 2008 - Automotive finance providers that achieve high levels of satisfaction among dealers receive a larger share of business from those dealerships, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

The study investigates automotive dealer satisfaction with finance providers in four segments: prime retail credit; retail leasing; subprime retail credit; and floor planning. It examines five key factors that contribute to satisfaction within the prime retail credit, retail leasing and subprime retail credit segments: provider offering; credit personnel; application/approval process; termination policy/service; and sales representative relationship. Four factors are measured in the floor planning segment: provider offering; floor plan support personnel; inventory process; and process/service.

The study finds that as dealers become more satisfied with a lender, they allocate a larger volume of their business to that lender. Some aspects of financing service that are particularly important to maximizing dealer satisfaction are the ability to interact with a single credit buyer, short application approval times and expedient funding. Within the prime retail credit segment, dealers who are "delighted" with their lender provide the lender with 53 percent of the loan originations generated at the dealership, on average, while dealers who report being merely "satisfied" provide lenders with 40 percent. In contrast, however, dealers who are "dissatisfied" with their lender give their lender only 26 percent of their business, on average

"Dealer satisfaction with automotive lenders clearly impacts the volume of retail business a lender receives," said Rich Howse, senior director of the automotive finance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "With more than 20,000 dealerships in the U.S., the potential revenue linked to increasing satisfaction can translate to billions of dollars. For instance, in the prime retail credit segment, the difference between just one dealer who indicates they are 'delighted' and one who indicates they are 'dissatisfied' can mean an average of more than $3 million in additional loan originations in one year."

The study also finds that developing the dealer-lender relationship becomes particularly important given the current economic struggles and market turmoil. Within the floor planning segment, 44 percent of dealers report that the relationship with a lender is their primary reason for selecting a provider. Similarly, the dealer-lender relationship is cited most often as the primary reason for choosing a finance provider in the subprime retail credit segment.

"In today's tough times, automotive lending priorities may be focused on the issues of liquidity and risk rather than dealer satisfaction, but lenders cannot afford to miss the growth opportunity tied to dealer satisfaction," said Howse. "Dealers recognize those lenders that make the effort to partner with them for the long haul, so building and maintaining strong relationships with dealers will be the foundation of future revenue growth as the industry rebounds."

BMW Financial Services ranks highest in all four segments examined in the study: prime retail credit; retail leasing; subprime retail credit; and floor planning. Rankings by segment are as follows:

Prime Retail Credit

BMW Financial Services ranks highest in prime retail credit satisfaction with an index score of 946 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in four factors driving dealer satisfaction: credit personnel; application/approval process; termination policy/service; and sales representative relationship. Alphera Financial Services (940) and Volkswagen Credit (938) follow BMW Financial Services in the rankings.

Retail Leasing

With a score of 942, BMW Financial Services ranks highest in retail leasing satisfaction for a fifth consecutive year, performing particularly well in credit personnel; termination policy/service; and application/approval process. Volkswagen Credit (934) and Mercedes-Benz Financial (924) follow in the segment.

Subprime Retail Credit

In the subprime retail credit segment, which is new to the 2008 study, BMW Financial Services ranks highest with a score of 966, performing well across all factors driving satisfaction. Volkswagen Credit follows with 943, and GMAC ranks third in the segment with 922.

Floor Planning

BMW Financial Services ranks highest in floor planning with a score of 963, performing well in all four of the factors that drive satisfaction. Volkswagen Credit follows closely in the rankings with 960 and Audi Financial Services ranks third in the segment with 940.

The 2008 Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 4,770 dealer principals who were surveyed March through July 2008.

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