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The future of car finance – how the industry must evolve

Philip Williams, managing director of Oodle, offers some insight into how the industry needs to evolve in order to meet changing consumer demands

There is no doubt that in the last couple of years the car buying journey has transformed, partly accelerated by the pandemic and partly as a result of the continued shift to digital, with customers turning to online to do more of their own independent research.

We are in an era of used car buying where customers are taking an omni-channel approach - be that buying in person, online or more commonly, a mix of both. And regardless of how people buy a car, almost everyone (91%) starts their research online.

Taking that one step further, 54% of customers also want to arrange their finance before buying a car - this is a trend that we expect to increase over time as people want to have better control over the process.

How a finance-first approach benefits dealers 

So, what does this mean for car finance companies? Market dynamics are changing and, as an industry, we need to evolve to keep ahead of consumer needs and preferences and come up with ways to support dealers in making their lives easier. For Oodle, the finance-first approach is the clear way forward.

Car buying can be an emotive and complex process - and there is currently a lot of pressure on dealers, especially when it comes to finance. Arranging finance with a customer in the dealership takes time, and can be difficult when the dealer needs to go back and forth to devise the right package.

The finance-first route removes this element of complication. It allows customers to get comfortable with their budget before they buy, and gives them confidence, control and transparency. If a customer walks into the dealership with a pre-approved credit limit before shopping, they can enjoy the process - and the dealer can sell cars more quickly and efficiently, without the burden of compliance. It’s a win-win.

The Oodle offering

We are in the process of building a network of ‘Oodle approved dealers’ who are adopting the finance-first approach. We offer high confidence pre-approvals, and an inclusive product range that is bespoke to each dealer.

We’re also helping dealers adapt to the new digital era with cost-effective, customer-centric and high-performing digital solutions.

We recently launched OodlePay which bridges the gap between ‘finance first’ and an omni-channel buying experience. OodlePay gives customers the confidence and control of pre-approved finance, loaded into a portable digital wallet which they can use to buy a car from our network of dealers online or in-person.

Our online marketplace is free to join and acts as a genuine extension of our dealer’s operations. We take away the complexity, do all the up-front work and dealers get access to pre-approved, ready-to-buy customers.

We are passionate about helping dealers to achieve improved revenue and have a competitive edge. We believe that finance-first is the best and most customer-centric way to do this and to evolve the industry as a whole.