Technology provider iVendi has predicted that independent dealers will prove to be a major new market for online motor finance in 2017.

According to its research, over 65% of the 200 leading UK dealer groups have an online motor finance presence, compared to less than 30% among independents.

James Tew, chief executive officer, iVendi, said: “In the dealer sector, you expect large franchise groups to lead the way with new technology and, today, there is widespread use of online motor finance within that sector.

“The majority of independents have lagged some way behind but we have seen a real explosion in interest in recent months.”

Tew also stated that customers had come to expect a professional web presence from even localised dealers.

He added: “They assume there will be a high level of web functionality and your web site is actually now used to judge the professionalism of your business.

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“Soon customers will also expect to see a choice of finance products and an option to make online applications. Independents are coming around to this point of view and will be one of the major markets that we will be targeting in 2017.”