Independent dealers look set to become the growth area for online motor finance during 2017, according to iVendi.
More than 65% of the top 200 dealer groups in the UK now have an online motor finance solution in place, but the figure for independents is probably less than 30%, research carried out by iVendi revealed.
Chief executive James Tew said: “In the dealer sector, you expect large franchise groups to lead the way with new technology and, today, there is widespread use of online motor finance within that sector.
“The majority of independents have lagged some way behind but we have seen a real explosion in interest in recent months.
“Many of these dealers spend a lot of time getting their web site right and are interested in any tool that drives traffic and sales.”
Tew said that, increasingly, used car, bike and van buyers expected even quite localised used retailers to have a highly professional web presence.
“The fact is that, over time, customers have come to expect that more and more of the vehicle purchasing process will be made available online,” he said.
“They assume there will be a high level of web functionality and your web site is actually now used to judge the professionalism of your business.
“Certainly, for all but the smallest dealers, we believe that a finance calculator is a minimum requirement and that, soon, customers will also expect to see a choice of finance products and an option to make online applications.
“Independents are coming around to this point of view and will be one of the major markets that we will be targeting in 2017.”