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Power is now 'with lenders'

The balance of power between dealers and finance companies has clearly shifted to the providers, according to a consultant in the motor industry retail finance sector.

“There will continue to be changes to pricing models, something that is vital for the long-term viability of finance companies in the motor arena,” he said.

“Finance has gone through major change over the past year with the independent finance supplier base shrinking significantly.”

Black Horse became the dominant force in the sector during 2009 with the absorption of Bank of Scotland Dealer Finance when Lloyds Banking Group acquired the bank.

Though the choice of lenders has become smaller, sector advisers say there will be opportunities in 2010.

Another consultant said: “Dealers can maintain finance income by increasing overall sales penetration.

“They will be ideally placed from the beginning of next year to achieve finance sales because the personal loan market remains depressed.

“With higher interest rates and tighter underwriting, dealers should focus on making a little from as many transactions as possible.”

 He said that with the right level of energy and leadership, dealers could establish finance as a sustainable profit centre.

“To achieve this they must ensure customers see dealer finance as the best first place to go to for car finance,” he said.

A credit analyst said the Consumer Credit Directive arriving next summer could mean radical changes to the way cars are sold and delivered.

“There will be a 14-day cooling off period for finance,” he said.

“Details for the new regulation remain under discussion and all dealers must endeavour to keep close to this regulation and adapt to it.”

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