7 Accounting Best Practices for Auto Dealers

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DigniFi Partners with AutoNation and TR Wholesale Solutions to help customers finance tire purchases

SEATTLE, April 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — DigniFi, an automotive financing platform, today announced an expanded partnership with AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN), America’s largest and most recognized automotive retailer, and TR Wholesale Solutions, a Tire Rack Company, known as America’s largest direct-to-retailer tire business and independent tire tester. AutoNation uses TR Wholesale Solutions’ digital tire shopping platform to help its Service Advisors and customers shop, compare and order tires. By introducing DigniFi into this experience, AutoNation and TR Wholesale Solutions’ can help customers finance tires that offer superior safety and performance.

COVID-19 has changed how drivers approach vehicle repairs and maintenance. Between July and December 2020, AutoNation saw an increase in service financing. With record numbers of Americans out of work, drivers were hesitant to spend on high-ticket maintenance and repairs as well as new tires, which tend to be one of the largest-cost items for a newer vehicle still under warranty.

“Tire selection is first and foremost about safety,” said Aaron Reitman, Vice President of Corporate Accounts at TR Wholesale Solutions. “Especially in a financially difficult year, drivers are tempted to replace their tires with a budget set, which tend to offer decreased performance on wet or snow-covered roads. With DigniFi integrated into our tire shopping tool, we can show customers that safer, higher-performance tires are within reach because flexible financing is just a few clicks away.”

DigniFi’s automotive financing platform helps people afford vehicles, auto repairs, upgrades, accessories and trade-ins with flexible payment terms. Customers apply for financing on their personal smartphone and receive an instant decision from a lender. On average, automotive businesses that offer DigniFi increase annual revenue by up to 20 percent.

“New tires are the first major expense of the ownership cycle and the first defection point in service loyalty,” said Dave Wilmore, SVP of Customer Care & Brand Extensions at AutoNation. “Service financing enables our customers to purchase the correct tires with a payment schedule they can handle. This partnership with DigniFi and TR Wholesale Solutions furthers our commitment to keep every customer safe on the road, no matter what their financial situation is.”

Since 2019, AutoNation has partnered with DigniFi to finance repairs and maintenance for customers. DigniFi has improved customer loyalty and engagement by offering transparency, choice and convenience in the service experience. It has also enabled AutoNation Associates to offer premium auto services for their customers.

“AutoNation and TR Wholesale Solutions already lead the market in providing a seamless, digital shopping experience for tires,” said DigniFi CEO Richard Counihan. “DigniFi can complement their strengths by making financing accessible to consumers who might otherwise skip, delay or underfund tire purchases.

Tire financing from DigniFi is now available in-store at 244 AutoNation stores and online at www.autonationtirestore.com.


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700Credit announces soft pull integration with fusionZONE's new FastLane Leads product

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., April 9, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — 700 Credit, LLC, the leading provider of credit reports, compliance solutions and soft-pull products to automotive retailers, has announced a product alliance with fusionZONE Automotive’s digital retailing solution, FastLane Leads. FastLane Leads simplifies the digital retail process and reduces form abandonment rates through its straightforward 4-step process. Dealers receive more qualified leads and the consumer is provided a more robust pricing offer.

The alliance allows fusionZONE to integrate the 700Credit QuickQualify soft-pull platform within FastLane Leads so consumers can receive accurate interest rates and payment quotes before they enter the finance office. Dealers receive the FICO score and full credit file without placing a hard inquiry on the consumer’s credit file.

“Accuracy in the monthly payment quotes provided to the consumer by the FastLane Leads tool is critical to dealers completing the sale and removing friction in the finance office,” said Ken Hill, Managing Director of 700Credit. “Empowering dealerships to gain valuable insight into their customers credit profile while enabling customers to know their interest rate and monthly payments they qualify for earlier in the sales process is a win-win for the dealership and the consumer.”

“fusionZONE is excited to partner with 700Credit to bring its QuickQualify soft-pull platform to our new FastLane Leads tool” said Alex Papadopulos, fusionZONE Automotive’s COO and product designer. “By pairing our lightweight, 4-step digital retailing solution with accurate monthly payment quotes, we’re empowering the consumer and enhancing the dealer’s ability to attract qualified leads online.”
For more information on the partnership, contact: 866-273-3848.

About 700Credit

700Credit is the automotive industry’s leading provider of credit reports, compliance and soft pull products. The company’s product and service offerings include credit reports, prescreen and pre-qualification platforms, OFAC compliance, Red Flag solutions, MLA, Synthetic Fraud Detection, Identity Verification, score disclosure notices, adverse action notices and more. 700Credit’s goal is to provide its clients with the highest quality data in a compliant framework in the most efficient manner possible. For more information about 700Credit, visit http://www.700credit.com.

About fusionZONE

fusionZONE Automotive is an award-winning website provider and full-service digital marketing agency that helps car dealers streamline the ever-evolving digital landscape. Founded in 2009, the company has always been deliberately different. It caters to single-store franchise dealerships, large automotive groups and independent dealers, helping them increase website traffic, leads and sales with its high-performance websites and digital marketing services. As a leading full-service digital marketing provider, fusionZONEdelivers robust online solutions, including websites, 24/7 live sales chat, social media management, technical SEO services and innovative lead generation technologies. Its website platform features responsive technology with award-winning conversion tools that dealers love.

For more information about fusionZONE Automotive, visit http://www.fzautomotive.com

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Automotive Briefing Report: Data precision emerges as critical success factor for automotive lenders

Automotive Briefing Report
April 12, 2021

    Twelve months — and counting — through a pandemic era has done far more than simply disrupt normal business operations for the automotive industry. As a result, various stakeholders are revisiting fundamental assumptions that have been in place for years. The stress caused by uncertainty in the market has created a demand for a new level of transparency — driven by digital channels of engagement. This trend is structurally changing relationships among lenders, dealerships and consumers.

  Moving deeper into 2021, we expect to see continued challenges in the automotive industry including inventory shortages in both new and used vehicles, as well as supply chain disruptions. Lenders will have to access the best, most accurate and current information to achieve important business objectives. Analyzing the changing risk landscape to make smart decisions about loan portfolios will emerge as an important competitive factor among lenders in the months and years to come.

Higher Quality Data Available

For many years, lenders relied on standard VIN decoders which offer partial—and sometimes incorrect—data about vehicle features and packages. In many cases, these limitations led to imprecise valuations for specific vehicles and resulted in costly oversights and missed opportunities. In the salad days leading up to March of 2020, a highly profitable market could absorb these inefficiencies. The situation today, however, is different.
Today, two major developments are unfolding: 1) a significant evolution in industry relationships across the value chain is making more data available to the automotive community of interest; and 2) dramatic developments in technologies — such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics — that capture insights from disparate sources.

These two trends inspired J.D. Power to make significant investments in its data-gathering and analytical capabilities, which have manifested themselves with the addition of ALG and ChromeData to the J.D. Power family. The increased amount of data and advanced analytical tools leveraging AI technologies have resulted in a new J.D. Power offering called VIN Precision+.

VIN Precision+ unlocks the full 17-digit VIN code and erases blind spots associated with traditional VIN decoding. This solution is a robust and intelligent resource that vastly improves lenders’ ability to engage in:
•    Risk mitigation: Lenders can now know beyond all reasonable doubt that they are lending the right amount of money based on a detailed understanding of the features and content associated with vehicles they are underwriting.
•    Portfolio valuation: As individual loans become part of the broader portfolio under management it is imperative that they can optimize capital allocations.
•    Repositioning and remarketing: As vehicles in the portfolio complete their lifecycle and return to the aftermarket for auction, they can ensure that their assets are valued correctly.

Better Data = Better Profitability

VIN Precision+ is having a significant — and positive — effect on portfolio valuations. It has provided lenders with the edge they need to weather future disruptions that are expected to emerge in the market — especially as forbearance programs and other economic activities expire. Two real-world scenarios that demonstrate how important accurate data is for lenders include:
•    Vehicle Audits: J.D. Power compared a portfolio analysis using standard VIN decoding to VIN Precision+ results for a lender with a portfolio of approximately 500,000 vehicles. The standard VIN decoding estimated that portfolio to have a value of $10.3 billion. The more granular VIN Precision+ analysis revealed a 1.8% difference in the portfolio valuation. This resulted in a $180 million discrepancy. This is not an insignificant number for a sector with tight margins in which every percentage point counts.
•    Future-Proofing Loan Practices: Lenders using standard VIN decoding practices often receive inaccurate — or incomplete — information on a specific vehicle’s package and trim options. In an experiment with a lender, a vehicle was randomly selected for a J.D. Power audit using VIN Precision+. The lender had valued the vehicle at approximately $40,000.00. The VIN Precision+ analysis revealed that it was only worth $35,000. Replicated, this inaccuracy would have a significant negative effect on the overall portfolio value. In this case, the portfolio was valued at $15 million less than the lender had originally calculated.
The ability to capture and analyze granular data offers lenders an opportunity to run their business with a much higher level of confidence — and profitability.

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Disruption: Why The Automotive Industry on the Verge of Change Needs EHS Digital Transformation Now More Than Ever

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