When Tesla decided to skip dealers initially the world skipped a beat for a moment. How could this be? How could a manufacturer decide to drop that entire process of buying a car and replace it with doing it all online? Well, Tesla was just adapting to the times we live in and they must’ve seen something others didn’t as that trend is probably going to start amplifying. The people from BMW might think so too as they recently announced an investment in California-based startup AutoFi.
What is AutoFi? Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, AutoFi is a retail platform that allows car buyers to purchase and finance a car from a variety of financial institutions within or outside the dealership. Thanks to AutoFi’s deep integrations with financial institutions, the customers can submit simple credit applications to a number of key lenders, incl. Chase and Santander, and get instant decisions, which in return increases engagement, conversion and F&I penetration.
Sounds complicated? It’s really not. Basically, AutoFi allows you to access the best of both worlds. If you want to go down the traditional route, they can help you get financing. If you just want to keep the experience online, you can do that as well. “The AutoFi team has built a cutting-edge solution providing transparency through connecting key stakeholders in the auto financing industry: financial institutions, dealers and consumers” said Baris Guzel of BMW i Ventures.
“We are convinced that AutoFi has the potential to be the industry standard checkout for all automotive transactions, and we are thrilled to join the journey.”
According to AutoFi, the software they are working on is not meant to cut the dealer out of the equation completely. Instead, it will improve upon the dealer’s website so that customers will need just one trip to the brick and mortar place to pick up their car and sign some paperwork, eliminating a lot of the hassle that used to go into the process.
BMW believes this new way of buying cars could be the future so they decided to be part of it. AutoFi will use the investment to expand its sales and customer support, and continue its rapid pace of product innovation.