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Senior Reporter @NewsPlus

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Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:35

Interest Grows in Full-Size Luxury Sedans

Jumpstart Automotive Media, a media insights and marketing solutions company, released its monthly share of shopper interest data. The report reveals that shoppers are showing more interest in vehicle segments such as full-size luxury sedans, and soon-to-be-released models are generating excitement among shoppers.
During September, shopper interest in full-size luxury sedans grew 15 percent. The alternative fuel segment continues to lead all other categories in shopper interest growth since January at 38 percent, particularly led by interest in Tesla, which is second in overall brand shopper interest at 141 percent on the year (behind Genesis at 146 percent).

Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:35

Valuation Guide Joins with Data Co.

Black Book, a provider of used vehicle valuation and residual value forecast solutions, announced it has signed a partnership agreement with AutoAlert, the industry’s top data-mining and communications solution.
Under the agreement, Black Book will populate AutoAlert’s algorithms with the industry’s most accurate vehicle values, giving dealers precise pull-ahead and sales opportunities.
AutoAlert has long been a leader in dealer solutions for identifying high-quality sales opportunities, increasing gross margins, and improving customer retention. With Black Book as its valuation partner, dealers will be able to maximize sales opportunities and profit potential in a variety of environments, such as trade valuations as well as during service and repair visits.

Pittsburgh-based FNB Corporation reported earnings for the third quarter of $75.7 million, or $0.23 per diluted common share. Comparatively, second quarter net income totaled $72.4 million, or $0.22 per diluted common share. Year-ago net income totaled $50.2 million, or $0.24 per diluted common share.
Continued growth in indirect auto loans and residential mortgage loans led average consumer loan growth to $178 million, or 9.4 percent annualized. Organic growth in total average loans equaled $907 million, or 6.3 percent.
“FNB delivered solid performance in the third quarter resulting in record revenue and record net income,” said Vincent J. Delie Jr., president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased with the growth in loans and deposits, as well as our ability to effectively manage expenses. We are also pleased with the results of several of our fee-based businesses and remain focused on our revenue growth initiatives to deliver increased value for our shareholders.”

Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:34

Online Site Names Preferred Provider

Ritchie Bros. Financial Services (RBFS) is expanding its reach, now serving as a preferred provider for IronPlanet, a leading online marketplace for used equipment and other durable assets.
IronPlanet’s growing customer base will now have access to RBFS’ LeaseFlex and PurchaseFlex financing solutions, which offer more flexibility and convenience compared to traditional bank financing when purchasing trucks and equipment.
“Ritchie Bros. Financial Services has a fast and easy application process, helping equipment buyers get quicker access to the cash they need to bid and purchase with confidence,” said Sharon Driscoll, CFO of Ritchie Bros. and board chair at RBFS.
“When RBFS was introduced six years ago, the company focused solely on providing financing solutions for customers of our live auctions. As the focus on the overall customer experience has evolved, RBFS has diversified, providing financing to customers buying equipment from other sources, including dealerships. Becoming an official preferred provider with IronPlanet is a logical next step for RBFS and an excellent opportunity for growth.” 
Both IronPlanet and RBFS are part of Ritchie Bros., a publicly traded, global asset management and disposition company, offering solutions for buying and selling used heavy equipment, trucks, and other assets.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 00:44

Automaker Redesigns CPO Website

Capitalizing on the growing popularity of its pre-owned vehicles, Acura debuted a completely redesigned Certified Pre-Owned vehicle website that simplifies Acura’s online CPO vehicle shopping process, offering shoppers the ability to compare vehicles and features and share their selections with friends and family. The new Acura CPO site makes inventory the primary focal point for shoppers, introducing a new vehicle alert feature for the most up-to-date vehicle availability.
The updated site also features a new vehicle recommendations tool and an interactive payment calculator to help potential customers find vehicles within their budget, along with a seamless browsing experience on any device.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 00:44

Finance Co. Secures Funding

Finova Financial, a provider of digital alternatives for Americans underserved by the traditional banking system, announced it has secured $102.5 million in equity and credit facility funding. The financing was led by CoVenture with participation from existing investors who funded Finova’s $52-million seed round, and will be used to continue Finova’s expansion of its digital financial services products.
“Seventy million Americans spend $141 billion on alternative financial services a year because they don’t have or want a relationship with traditional banks or financial institutions,” said CEO Gregory Keough.
This rapidly growing group believes traditional financial services companies can’t solve their core financial needs, he said.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 00:44

Firms Partner in Mobile Payment Solution

Speedpay, Inc., a Western Union company, renewed its relationship with Flagship Credit Acceptance, a leading auto-finance provider with a nationwide network of more than 9,400 dealers. As part of its five-year deal, which positions Speedpay as Flagship’s electronic billing presentment and exclusive payments provider, Flagship will be Speedpay’s first auto finance client to offer the moBills solution through Walletron.
“Our commitment to Speedpay is a testament to the confidence we have in their array of solutions – namely, their mobile payment options – that will help make it easier for our customers to pay their bills on time,” said David Bertoncini, chief operating officer, Flagship Credit Acceptance. “Aligning with Speedpay means we will have greater efficiency in billing, access to top-notch customer service, and a reliable stream of payments.”

Sam’s Club and TrueCar, Inc.  are teaming up with Ford Motor Company to offer exclusive discounts on Ford vehicles to Sam’s Club members through the Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program powered by TrueCar.
Sam’s Club members can see what other people recently paid for comparable vehicles they’re interested in purchasing. Additionally, members can receive up to $2,000 in post-sale benefits, including auto repair and auto deductible reimbursements for additional peace of mind.
Qualifying Sam’s Club members who register will receive an exclusive $500 bonus cash incentive through Jan. 2, 2018. This incentive can be applied to the discounted Sam’s Club member pricing and any publicly available Ford cash incentives. The offer is eligible on the full 2017 and 2018 Ford model lineup, excluding certain trim packages.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:35

Auto Loan Defaults Rise

Auto loan defaults increased 10 basis points to 1.05 percent from August to September, according to recent data from S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices through September. The indices represent a comprehensive measure of changes in consumer credit defaults and show that the composite rate increased two basis points from August to 0.88 percent last month. The bankcard default rate continued to fall, down four basis points to 3.15 percent. The first mortgage default rate increased one basis point from August to 0.66 percent.

The auto and first mortgage default rates are both within one basis point of their levels from one year ago. Despite recent decreases, the bankcard default rate remains nearly 40 basis points higher than its level a year ago.

Four of the five major cities saw their default rates increase in the month of September. Chicago and Miami had the largest increases, each up six basis points to 1 percent and 1.19 percent, respectively. New York came in at 0.97 percent, an increase of two basis points from August. Dallas reported an increase of four basis points to 0.78 percent. Los Angeles was the only major city reporting a decrease with a one basis point drop to 0.65 percent.

The national bank card default rate continued to fall, dropping to its lowest level so far in 2017.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:35

New Book Looks at Future of Auto Retail

Dale Pollak, founder of vAuto, has released his fourth book, “Like I See It: Obstacles and Opportunities Shaping the Future of Retail Automotive.”

 In a press release, Pollack stated he hadn’t planned on writing a fourth book, but circumstances in the retail automotive industry changed his thinking.

“Our industry is confronting a challenged and uncertain future,” Pollak says. “I felt like I had an obligation to bring voice to topics that too few in our industry want to talk about. My hope is that Like I See It spurs recognition that a prosperous and viable future for the car business will only arrive if we collectively begin the transformative work to shape this future today.”

In the book, Pollak devotes chapters to margin compression, increased OEM control and financial reliance of their dealer partners, dealer network consolidation, technology disruption, vehicle production inefficiencies and consumer preferences for digital retailing.

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