Santander taps AutoFi for new shopping, finance platform

Santander Consumer USA, one of the nation’s largest subprime auto lenders, is launching a digital car-shopping and finance platform with AutoFi.

The new tool will “streamline and enhance” dealership interactions with the auto finance company, Santander said Tuesday ahead of the lender’s second-quarter earnings.

The digital product suite will enable dealers to “self-service” across key vehicle underwriting interaction points with the lender.

Consumers who use the platform can identify vehicles at participating dealers that fit their budget. Listings will also include stipulations from Santander, so shoppers know ahead of time what is needed to ensure faster loan approval and purchase.

These “transaction-ready” shoppers will be directed to participating dealership websites and showrooms, the statement said.

The initial products mark the first iteration of a multiyear partnership between Santander and AutoFi, and they will be available to select dealers in the coming months with a national rollout planned in 2022.

Santander, of Dallas, also operates Chrysler Capital, the private-label lending unit of Santander and Stellantis. The giant lender serves 3.1 million borrowers.

The tools will be accessible to both Stellantis and non-Stellantis dealerships, AutoFi CEO Kevin Singerman told Automotive News.

“Traditionally, finance has not been part of the consumer search and shopping journey,” he said. “This partnership with Santander represents a major step forward in bringing that to life.”

Santander Consumer USA CEO Mahesh Aditya said in the statement that the tool will be more efficient for dealers, while making the loan application process online easier for consumers.

“Giving dealers a state-of-the-art tool to self-service the loan decisioning process — while interacting in real time with consumers across all spectrums of credit — will be a strategic differentiator for SC,” he said.

This is the latest high-profile white-label partnership for AutoFi. The technology company said in May that it is constructing a platform for Detroit’s Rocket Auto, a subsidiary of Rocket Cos. which also owns mortgage lender Quicken Loans.

The future e-commerce site will feature vehicle inventory and connect customers directly to auto-lender offers.

Santander on Wednesday also reported second-quarter net income of $1.1 billion, fueled by record-high auto originations of $10.5 billion.