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2012 will be key year for motor loans

Specialist motor finance providers are gearing up to make crucial progress with the Finance & Leasing Association’s SAF (specialist automotive finance) initiative in 2012.

With the backing of their dealer partners they will push ahead with the programme to convince buyers that the best deal and service is gained by having a showroom loan.

Next year the FLA and its members will encourage more dealers with SAF recognition to make car buyers aware of their status. An FLA website provides a quick way for customers to track their nearest outlets.

The FLA made key advances during the autumn. In the 12 months to September, point-of-sale loans reached 60%, the highest proportion since FLA records began.

The FLA also received the backing of MPs when Paul Harrison, its head of motor finance, addressed the All Party Parliamentary Group on Trading Standards.

He said self-regulation should be a part of any new regulatory regime for credit and MPs said they agreed, as long as the model was strong.

Harrison knows that a number of challenges face automotive loan providers and lenders in 2012.

During the autumn the FLA warned that supermarkets and other direct lenders were likely to launch a push to win back market share lost to dealers.

The battle to provide loans will intensify over the coming months because of the depressed new car market and the possibility of the UK sliding back into recession.

But the year is ending on an optimistic note.

Around 1,500 dealerships are SAF approved and more than 11,000 employees are registered after completing the FLA online competence test.

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