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GM eyes finance sector buyouts

General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), the carmaker's financial services division, is looking for organic and acquisitive growth following its purchase of Shell Auto Finance's business portfolio.

The sale consists of around 4700 hire/lease purchase and personal contract agreements.

Joe Giannamore, GMAC (UK) chief executive officer, says the company will honour all Shell's finance agreements, which he described as “a quality portfolio”.

“We continue to be a growth company - a buyer of portfolios - and we will have additional opportunities to make acquisitions over the next 12 to 18 months,” says Giannamore. “It's all about scale and scope. The more assets we have, the greater the scope we have to increase our range of products and improve efficiencies, reducing costs.”

GMAC (UK) is poised to launch a fourth brand, adding to its Vauxhall Finance, Saab Finance and Online Finance businesses, as it looks to become the leading finance services provider in the UK. It is also assessing areas to exploit cross-fertilisation and best practice.

Giannamore believes Vauxhall Finance offers the best opportunity for organic growth due to the huge volumes involved. The franchised network retails around 110,000 used cars a year and while GMAC (UK) is well represented, it wants greater penetration. “We need to be more aggressive in meeting dealers' needs,” says Giannamore.

He is also targeting more F&I business with Saab, a more niche player, but predicts the “astronomical” growth enjoyed at Online Finance is set to slow down.

“We expect sales to be up 50 per cent this year, which will be around 7.5 to eight per cent of the used automotive finance market, but future growth will now be slower.”

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