Alphera UK director Spencer Halil has warned the industry that those who are too focussed on their own culture – to the point of ignoring developments outside the sector – will face challenging times ahead.
Halil was speaking at the launch of Alphera’s ‘Financing the Car of The Future’ project, which will look to build on the lender’s ten years of experience, and culminate in a report at the end of 2016, featuring contributions from across the industry.
Speaking at the launch, he said: "The automotive retail sector continues to innovate and invest; however, while a lot has been said about treating the customer fairly, the pace of change in some areas has not always been as quick as the regulator or, more importantly, the customer would like.
"Looking forward, we have the opportunity to firmly position car finance as transparent, accessible and customer-friendly – proactively sharing information with potential customers about how products are marketed."
While he acknowledged the sale of finance is likely to be disrupted by young, agile fin-tech businesses, he described this as ‘positive.’ "There is also another phenomenon happening in parallel where the more established elements in the industry, the manufacturers, the manufacturer finance companies, the large independent bank businesses, are looking at all this change and adapting our strategies accordingly."
According to Halil, the aim of the Financing the Car of the Future report will be to encourage companies to be bold enough to look at what is happening in the wider marketplace and engender change, instead of waiting for newer start-ups to do it for them.
He warned: "There is a risk that some within the established automotive industry might not see what’s happening around them because they’re so focused on their own culture.
"As big institutions within the established motor industry, we’re quite often blinded by the risk of not changing."
One element of change Halil mentioned was the creation of an omni-channel approach to reaching the customer, in order to ensure the dealer body survives in a sustainable manner.
He said: "It’s possible for manufacturers and their finance companies, through launching online marketplaces, or proper e-retailing platforms, to allow the customer to choose if they only want 10% of their transaction to be face-to-face, or if they want 40% of that transaction to be face-to-face. Then that dealer body will be protected, and all the benefits of face-to-face negotiations which customers do appreciate, otherwise so many transactions wouldn’t occur in dealerships, can survive."
Motor Finance will bring you more updates and information online and in print in the coming weeks.