Dallas-based Santander Consumer USA partners with AutoFi for digital car-buying platform

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Dallas-based Santander Consumer USA Inc., one of the nation’s largest subprime auto lenders, is expanding its partnership with a growing San Francisco tech company to develop an end-to-end digital car shopping experience.

Santander Consumer also invested in AutoFi’s new $85 million funding round, alongside Silicon Valley Bank and Crosslink Capital. AutoFi previously raised $29.5 million from investors including Ford and the venture arm of BMW.

Santander Consumer’s new technology will include mobile, desktop and in-dealership tools to streamline the car financing process. AutoFi’s platform allows buyers to select “Buy Now,” receive an automated credit decision, and then review loan offers from banks, specialty lenders, and credit unions competing for business of the buyer.

“Our new suite of digital products will connect dealers, consumers and vehicles more effectively than ever before,” Santander Consumer USA President and CEO Mahesh Aditya said in a statement. “By personalizing and streamlining the car buying process, everyone wins. Buyers see exactly what they can buy, and dealers can manage each self-service transaction to meet their customers’ needs. »

Santander Consumer, which has an average portfolio of assets under management totaling $64 billion, and AutoFi have been working together since 2018. Santander Consumer said it plans to roll out the new technology nationwide this year.

AutoFi plans to use the new investment to hire staff and accelerate the development of products like “RealPayments,” a cloud-based pricing platform that allows auto finance companies to connect with consumers when they are looking for vehicles. Consumers are quickly prequalified for financing and can see the actual price and monthly payment for thousands of vehicles.

Customers who buy or research vehicles online can also get instant credit approvals and a firm financing offer from AutoFi’s network of premier lending institutions.

AutoFi’s platform processed more than one million auto finance applications last year, which generated more than $3 billion in vehicle sales.

“We are honored that some of the world’s leading financial institutions share our vision of bringing innovation to automotive commerce,” AutoFi CEO and Co-Founder Kevin Singerman said in a statement. “Finance is a critical part of how people buy and sell vehicles and continues to be a primary source of friction in the automotive retail process. Finance needs to be more integrated into digital experiences.

In August, the US subsidiary of Spanish banking giant Banco Santander said it was taking Santander Consumer USA private in a deal valuing the company at $12.5 billion.

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