Your 30-second guide to the latest news, updates


120618 IL WHERE'S THE BRIEF Your 30-second guide to the latest news, updates

Fourth-quarter trip to the red zone

Why you should finance more deals with SC

Decline in car ownership?

Why you should use direct mail NOW

Responsible car-shopping behavior

Opportunities remain in 2018

Run the option to score more customers

Fraud risk and ‘Driving a New Model’

Spot On! Paul Clark Volkswagen


When the season comes down to a fourth-quarter trip to the red zone

The game comes down to this.

Waning minutes of the fourth quarter, and you’re in the red zone.

All you want to do is push the ball across the goal line for another successful year, and that means you need your best team on the field.

Shouldn’t that include your Santander Consumer USA (SC) Dealer Relationship Manager?

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“The DRM provides one of the most important connections between dealerships and Santander,” said a member of SC’s Dealer Relationship Team. “Dealers who take advantage of the knowledge and opportunities provided by our DRMs see the difference in their results.”

“My goal is to make doing business with Santander easy, efficient and profitable,” said another DRM.

So what can you expect from your DRM as the clock winds down?

More incremental business

Learn how SC can help you put more deals together and keep you up to date on our credit policies.

Faster deal processing

Get help creating clean packages while keeping current on SC’s funding policy and requirements.

Dealer Extranet training

Learn how to maximize profit on every deal with our rehash tool and to use other powerful features.

Marketing opportunities

Help generating new traffic to your dealership via direct mail program and RoadLoans lead exchange.

Dedicated point of contact

A resource for regulatory, policy and industry updates, and link to best-in-class fraud awareness training.

“The DRM is someone who is there to help guide dealers through any SC-related scenario,” said Howard Greenblatt, a New Jersey DRM.

“It could be walking them through how to use our Dealer Extranet to helping with a deal in funding to letting the dealer know when and how to contact another department within SC for additional help or guidance. And DRMs are always just a phone call, text or email away.”

“Santander Consumer USA has been a consistent lender, we count on them month in and month out,” said a finance manager at Greenwood Hubbard Chevrolet in Hubbard, OH. “Our buyer and [Dealer Relationship Manager] are always ready to help put deals together.”

“Santander gives us an opportunity with almost any customer that walks through the door,” he added.

So don’t leave SC on the sideline during your most important drive. Because you’re not simply playing for this season, tax season is next on the schedule.

Contact SC online

Why your dealership should finance more vehicles with SC

Don’t take our word for it.

You would expect us to tell you why your dealership should finance more vehicles with Santander Consumer USA (SC) as we have in our series The Road Ahead.

Because we’re a lender that is:

  • Committed to helping your dealership succeed.
  • Confident that our updated program will enable you to make more money.
  • Compelled to do what is best for our dealer relationships.

But the reasons your dealership should finance more deals through SC really stand out – i.e., become more than the typical sales chatter – when other dealerships say it.

Being commended by dealerships that work with us is the best measure of our success.

Road Ahead V1

Jim Lopez, general manager of Del Toyota in Thorndale, PA, which sells about 3,100 vehicles a year, gave four reasons the dealership has been working with SC for more than 10 years:

  • Fast response time on applications. Knowing we have a quick approval helps us make deals with our customers faster, and we don’t have to keep them waiting.
  • The Dealer Extranet – We are big fans of the rehash tool. It gives us flexibility to rehash multiple vehicles in minutes without having to pick up the phone.
  • Funding experience. We have had great experiences with the funding department. It is fast and painless, which keeps us wanting to work with Santander.
  • Our relationship with our Santander rep adds the perfect personal touch. In a time where instantaneous accessibility is vital, she is always a phone call away.

Howard Forman, finance director at Sands Chevrolet in Surprise, AZ, with about 4,000 in annual sales, also cites the Dealer Extranet, calling it “a phenomenal tool that not only allows you the ability to rehash deals but also speeds up the funding process by utilizing the [document] upload feature.”

“Our [Dealer Relationship Manager] is a great asset, as well, because he has the ability to help us solve some of the more complicated issues that arise – helps to problem-solve … for a quick resolution.”

Here are a few other comments:

  • “SC has been a valued partner, helping Teddy Nissan grow into one of the most successful Nissan dealerships in the country” – Julio Batista, general manager, at the Bronx, NY, store.
  • “We like the ability to do loans for the full credit spectrum” – Kyle Bacon, general sales manager of Sport Chevrolet in Silver Spring, MD, which sells about 2,200 vehicles a year.
  • “Because of the flexible program [at Santander], we are able to sell more new and used cars” – Tony Avedisian, used car director, Car Pros Kia, Carson, CA., which sells some 9,000 units a year.
  • “We are a store that does 740 cars a month. Our experience with Santander is a positive one with Santander being one of our most-used lenders” – Chafik Amrani, general sales manager, AutoNation Toyota of Winter Park, FL.
  • “Santander gives us the opportunity for almost any customer that walks through the door. They are a full-spectrum lender, and every year it seems their footprint grows within the dealership” – Tony Pesce, finance manager, Greenwood Hubbard Chevrolet, Hubbard, OH.

And then there’s Darryl Morgan, general sales manager at The Sharpest Rides, a dealership in Englewood, CO, which sells 6,000 units annually as one of the largest independents in the country.

“I love Santander for a couple simple reasons,” said Morgan. “One, they are one of my only lenders that understands what we need from them – approvals. They make this happen more than others on the largest set of customers … Secondly, they’re a value bank, meaning they bring value to the relationship. My [Dealer Relationship Manager] is a partner at our dealership.”

And that you can believe.

Some surprising sights along car shopper’s purchase path, Nielsen finds

Process of elimination.

Start with all the possibilities, whittle that to a handful, then, maybe a couple, and, finally, choose one. Of course, that’s how consumers go about their car-buying journey.

Or is it?

121118 IL Some surprising sights along car shopper’s purchase path, Nielsen finds

The Nielsen Company’s Auto Marketing Report 2018 suggests that vehicle shoppers, in fact, don’t use a process of elimination, leaving open the door for dealerships to affect shoppers’ choices even if they are well along the path to purchase.

“Marketers have used [the model] for decades to illustrate how people shop,” the report says, pointing out that there are two misconceptions with this idea.

“The first misconception is that people don’t have any … bias favoring one brand over another at the start of the car-buying process. The second misconception is that car shopping is a process [in which] people eliminate brands one by one until a winner finally emerges.”

Here’s what the Nielsen research shows:

  1. Car buyers do, in fact, have a bias to [certain] brands throughout the path to purchase, being “much more likely to purchase a car from a carmaker they had on their mind already.”
  2. The number of brands considered actually increases the closer a person gets to a final decision.

“Car shoppers start out on the path to purchase by considering two to three brands on average,” according to the report. “They’re aware of many more, of course, but by the time they’re ready to buy, they typically have five brands under consideration – nearly twice as many as they started with.”

“The fact that shoppers are considering more brands as time goes by is encouraging for auto marketers,” says Nielsen. “It suggests that car shoppers are open to considering additional brands even while having a top-of-mind brand that carries a natural advantage.”

Nielsen concedes that “on the surface … [the study] findings seem paradoxical: The first points to inertia or immutability in the car selection process, while the second points to a degree of open-mindedness for new brands along the way.”

So what are the implications for vehicle marketers, including dealerships.

“The key is to develop campaigns that can deliver on … building long-term brand equity and capturing people’s attention when they’re weighing their options.”

This requires “an understanding of how different media channels should be leveraged along the path to purchase,” according to Nielsen, with “mass reach media” such as radio and TV for brand building, “transitioning to more targeted and ‘personalizable’ media including mobile, digital and direct mail to increase purchase consideration and dealership foot traffic.”

The findings are based on online surveys conducted by Nielsen every quarter since 2012 to understand the behavior of car buyers in the U.S., with more than 220,000 surveys completed to date.

The complete report is available to download from Nielsen’s website.

Have dealers come to terms with possible decline in car ownership?

Eyes wide open.

Auto dealers generally have come to terms with the idea that individual car ownership will decline over the next five years as other forms of mobility gain in popularity.

Cox Automotive’s “Evolution of Mobility Study: A Dealer’s Perspective” found that 28 percent of franchise and independent automotive dealers expect a sharp decline in individual car ownership, more than the 18 percent of consumers who anticipate that same decline.

120418 IL Have dealers come to terms with possible decline in car ownership

“However, while most of the dealers surveyed recognize this eventual reality, only one in 10 dealers see mobility [alternatives] as a threat to their current business,” Cox reported

“In the next 10 years, nearly half (47 percent) of dealers see consumers owning or leasing fewer vehicles per household as a direct result of the increasing number of mobility options and the introduction of autonomous vehicles to the mass market.”

What dealers expect

Dealers expect the most growth to occur in ride-hailing (87 percent), followed by car subscriptions (82 percent), car-sharing (81 percent) and autonomous vehicles (81 percent), according to the study.

“With dealers challenged by declining new-car sales and margin compression, 45 percent say they see new shared-mobility models … as new revenue streams,” Cox reports. “Three out of four dealers see a benefit in offering these shared services at their dealerships, with 40 percent viewing mobility [alternatives] as an opportunity to appeal to a new consumer base.”

Fixed operations opportunity

Nearly six in 10 dealers surveyed also believe fixed operations will play a more important role with vehicles used for ride-hailing and car-sharing logging more miles and requiring more service, Cox said.

“Dealers are approaching the evolving mobility landscape with their eyes wide open,” said Joe George, president of Cox Automotive Mobility. While “traditional car ownership isn’t going away anytime soon,” the automotive research and information company expects dealers with innovative consumer mobility and fleet service solutions to keep their businesses relevant into the future.

Dealerships won’t disappear

“Even with the shift moving from traditional ownership to usage and a more personalized ‘one-to-many’ design of on-demand transportation, 72 percent of dealers do not view these mobility trends as the end of the dealership model,” according to the Cox report.

However 57 percent of dealers surveyed believe there will be a need for fewer dealerships in 10 years.

Conducted by Vital Findings for Cox Automotive, the Evolution of Mobility Study included an online survey of 430 automotive dealers in the United States during July 2018.

Why you should use direct mail NOW for tax season results

Santander Consumer USA’s Preapproved Direct Mail Program is the gift that keeps on giving.

And isn’t that just what you want to hear as you look at the sales landscape beyond the holidays that is dominated by tax season and the opportunities it offers?

While the months of January and February typically generate the weakest sales of the year, they also serve as a lead-in to March, which has been one of the top three sales months in eight of the last nine years and generated the most monthly sales so far in 2018.

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It’s a good time to connect with prospective buyers – many of whom may be anticipating a tax refund – whether that’s for an immediate purchase or the March tax rush.

Mailers may generate results for up to 90 days, based on results from more than 1,000 direct mail campaigns, which means March for January mailers and April for February mailers.

But you can’t wait until January to decide: The deadline for our January mailer is Friday, Dec. 7 – a little more than a week from now – while the deadline for the February mailer is Friday, Jan. 4, and for the March mailer is Friday, Feb. 1.

Here are a few things you need to know to make your decision:


  • The Santander Consumer USA Preapproved Direct Mail Program is designed to drive quality, preapproved consumers to you dealership.
  • It targets consumers with established payment histories at key points in the ownership cycle.
  • Recipients are reviewed based on our lending guidelines and receive personalized letters.
  • Consumers can access offers by phone or online via personal webpage. Leads are then funneled to your CRM and email addresses.


  • The mailers generate significantly higher response rate by highlighting easy ways recipients can find the amount of preapproved financing.
  • They include a convenient QR code so recipients can use their phones to scan for preapproval.
  • Mailers grab attention better with “preapproved certificate” at the top of the letter.
  • They promote your dealership specifically throughout the letter.
  • Recipients are pushed online where detailed financing offer and dealership information is provided.


  • Make sure everyone at the dealership knows a direct mailer is going out.
  • Follow up all leads via phone, email, postcards, etc., to maximize ROI.
  • Put your prospect in the right car for their lifestyle and finances!
  • It’s OK to push for results, but don’t think of this as a “weekend barn burner.” You should continue to see results into 2019 and tax season.

Watch for emails from Santander Consumer USA that provide additional details about the program, including pricing for a range of campaign packages.

Or contact your DRM, call program headquarters at 844.596.5575, or email santandersupport@rrd.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Where to find the most-responsible shopper behaviors – Edmunds

Few car shoppers are average.

But averages taken from a survey of 842,000 vehicle transactions by automotive information website Edmunds.com are at least interesting from a dealership standpoint.

Because those averages deal with responsible behavior by car shoppers.

Edmunds.com based the conclusions in its state-by-state ranking of responsible car-shopping behavior on averages for four major factors: Trade-in with negative equity – under water, upside down – the dollar amount of negative equity, financing term and interest rate (APR).

110717 IL Personal touch important, even though car shoppers want digital optionsThe survey results suggested that shoppers in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions show the highest levels of responsible car shopping, while states mainly in the South and Southwest show the least-responsible behavior, based on a study by Edmunds.com.

The automotive information website found that Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island “lead the country in responsible car-shopping behavior” looking at transactions from May through September. Shoppers in New Mexico ranked last in responsible behavior, according to Edmunds.

Combining scores in all four categories, the Edmunds state-by-state rankings showed the following:

Most-responsible shoppers

  1. Connecticut
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Michigan
  5. New Jersey
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Wisconsin
  8. New York
  9. Hawaii
  10. Maine

Least-responsible shoppers

  1. New Mexico
  2. Arkansas
  3. Alaska
  4. Mississippi
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Arizona
  7. Florida
  8. Texas
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming

Edmunds’ map of responsible shopping behavior by state shows where other states fall on a scale from Most Responsible (1-17) to Responsible (18-34) to Least Responsible (35-50).

Here is a summary of detailed results for each factor Edmunds considered in the rankings:

Trade-in with negative equity

Connecticut (10 percent), Massachusetts and Rhode Island (11 percent), and New Jersey (12 percent) shoppers are most responsible on average based on the low percentage of trade-ins under water, with negative equity ranging up to 33 percent in Arkansas and 32 percent in New Mexico.

Negative equity amount

Shoppers in Connecticut ($4,499), Massachusetts ($4,686) and Rhode Island ($4,694) also had trade-ins with the lowest dollar amount of negative equity, with Wisconsin ($4,724) and Pennsylvania ($4,799) also coming in below $5,000. The highest amount of negative equity was for trade-ins in Alaska ($6,852).

Length of financing

Car shoppers in Connecticut (64.2 months), Massachusetts (64.9 months), New York (65.6 months) and New Jersey (65.9 months) financed their vehicles for the shortest terms on average. The longest financing terms were found in Alaska at 74.6 months and New Mexico at 72.4 months.

Average interest rate (APR)

Only borrowers in Connecticut scored an average APR under 4 percent at 3.97 percent, while borrowers in Georgia (7.65 percent), Mississippi (7.2 percent) and New Mexico (7.06 percent) were paying the highest average APR, according to Edmunds’ data.

Opportunities remain as clock ticks toward end of 2018

The clock is ticking.

Just over six weeks remain in the 2018 sales year.

Dealers know full well that these typically are among the most important weeks of the year – including Thanksgiving weekend and the end-of-the-year holidays.

111318 IL Opportunities remain as clock ticks toward end of 2018

December itself has been the largest sales month of the year for three consecutive years.

“The last 60 days of the year are a major focus for our dealership,” reported Greg McLean, finance director at Toyota of North Miami, FL. “We find this push creates momentum that we carry into the next year to assure we start the new year at full throttle.”

The industry rolled into November with total sales around 14.6 million, about the same pace as 2017, so it appears 2018 will be the fourth consecutive year of more than 17 million in sales. Last year finished at about 17.55 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Expectations among industry analysts are that this year’s sales ultimately will fall just short of 2017. Still, that’s higher than most forecast – under 17 million – when the year started.

“I am expecting to finish strong to make up for the last few months that have been flat,” said Jose Garcia, used car lead finance manager at Lake Park Toyota in Florida. Headwinds are stiff, though, including higher interest rates and higher average car prices.

Meanwhile, at least some dealers who work with Santander Consumer USA are primed for end-of-year sales opportunities:

  • “The last two months of the year are so vital to our overall success that we have scheduled two big sales,” said Bob Miller, general manager at Tomlinson Motor Company in Gainesville, FL.
  • “Historically, the fourth quarter … [is] more productive than any other time,” said Roger Myton, new car sales manager at Palm Beach Toyota in Florida.
  • “History has shown us that we have to commit to advertising and sales events in November and December, in particular, to keep our traffic count up,” said Nikolas Dial, finance manager at The Car Company Suzuki in Warsaw and Goshen, IN. “So that’s exactly what we plan on doing.”

So, although the clock is ticking down to the end of 2018, there’s still time to finish the year strong, and the Santander Consumer USA sales team is all about helping your dealership meet its goals.

Contact your Dealer Relationship Manager for details on how SC can help.

Running the option is a smart way to score more customers

The Dealer Extranet.

It’s the play call that can help you score more deals with Santander Consumer USA (SC).

Featuring competitive advantages such as the Rehash Tool, which provides the quickest possible turnaround time on new deal options, and a customized dashboard that offers daily stats, notifications and reports on your deals with SC, it should be part of your everyday game plan.

“One of our greatest assets is our Dealer Extranet, especially for high-volume dealers,” said Stephen Rivelli, an SC Dealer Relationship Manager (DRM) in New York.

110618 IL Running the option is a smart way to score more customers“The ease of use and the multi-functionality of it, from rehashing an application to funding, allows my dealers a fast, user-friendly experience from application to funded. I stress the importance and use of the Extranet with all my dealers … [and] they usually see the light.”

In fact, thousands of dealership sales associates already have recognized the value of the Extranet and use it to maximize their results with SC and to manage their businesses better.

The Extranet is the next best thing to having your buyer on the line. You have real-time access to information and systems that can get things done.  If logging in to the Dealer Extranet is not a part of your regular routine, you could be missing out.



Here are five of the top uses of the Dealer Extranet:

  1. Rehash Tool – If you need to update the numbers or revise the type of vehicle being purchased, plug your new information into the Rehash Tool and receive a new structure in real time.
  2. Track deals in Funding – The Extranet will allow you to check the status of your deals in Funding and see if you need any additional documentation to complete your deals.
  3. Upload stips – This is a lot faster and easier with the Dealer Extranet. You bypass the hassle of faxing, and the stips go directly to the funder’s queue.
  4. Print a purchase letter – Get a breakdown of the total funded amount for your deal. The purchase letter shows all applicable fees, participation and discounts.
  5. Access the Dealer Resources – This section is a one-stop area for important documents. Just about any document a dealer needs to do business with SC can be found on the Extranet.

You can make the Extranet an integral part of your dealership’s routine by asking your DRM to set up a new user login – or logins for multiple users at your store. Your DRM also can help you discover the many features the Extranet provides your activated account.

Your DRM also is available to answer any questions that might arise or to reset your password.

When you’re set up on the Dealer Extranet, you can log in here and use it whenever you want. And put the power of the Dealer Extranet in your competitive playbook.

What you need to know about fraud risk and ‘Driving a New Model’

Fraudsters never rest.

And they may be headed to your dealership.

But Santander Consumer USA (SC) is committed to providing the information you need to fight back.

Our series, Driving a New Model, should help dealers spot the red flags for identity fraud, application misrepresentation, straw buyers and elder abuse, and includes actionable checklists.

“Awareness of fraud and elder-abuse red flags will allow you to take steps to reduce these risks and will result in a number of benefits,” says the SC pamphlet, Driving a New Model | A dealer guide to recognizing the warning signs of fraud, identifying suspicious buyers and taking action to reduce costs.

Driving a New Model suggests those benefits could comprise:

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  • Improvement in the overall customer experience
  • Reduction in consumer harm and risk to the dealer’s reputation
  • Reduction in credit stipulations on an application
  • Reduction in funding delays to dealership
  • Reduction in post-funding disputes and potential unwinds

“Establishing a partnership with lenders is the best way to fight fraud,” wrote Frank McKenna of PointPredictive consulting firm in a separate Digital Dealer Magazine report 5 Reasons Car Dealers Should Be Concerned with Fraud. “Since lenders have more tools to diagnose and detect fraud, they can help you understand the impact to you before it ever happens.”

“Good collaboration on fraud is the key to winning the war on fraud,” according to McKenna.

And, as far as SC is concerned, “We actively seek your feedback and your insights into trends and concerns related to the risk of fraud or elder abuse,” says Driving a New Model.

Here are the five parts of our series:

Part 1: What you need to know about fraud risk – and why you should care

Part 2: Identity fraud can take ‘enormous toll’ on your dealership profits

Part 3: How to change the odds in your favor against application fraud

Part 4: What straw buyer fraud could mean to your dealership and how to avoid it

Part 5: How to recognize elder abuse if your dealership is targeted

But the fight against all types of vehicle-purchase fraud doesn’t end at the dealership door.

If you notice unusual behavior or information by applicants, please contact your SC Dealer Relationship Manager who can direct these concerns to the appropriate team to review.

Fraudsters never rest, and neither should you.

Together we can stop fraud.