John Castle, Vroom’s vice president of consumer finance, has set out to redefine the car-buying process, a method that proved successful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online used-car retailer’s gross product revenue, including ancillary products, surged 166.3% year over year to $10.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, and 177.9% YoY to $30.9 million on the year. Vroom’s e-commerce sales also increased 73.9% YoY to more than 11,000 units.
Vroom’s goal is to set itself apart from the traditional car dealership process, a move made clear through the company’s advertising. Vroom joined the Super Bowl LV marketing lineup in February with an ad that paints a dealership as a horror movie scene.
Vroom also has prioritized technological innovation, Castle told Auto Finance News in March, adding that auto lenders and dealers must move away from legacy systems and processes to meet consumer demand for more digital capabilities.
“It’s about listening to that consumer; they only think of this whole transaction cycle end to end. To them, it is a singular purchase all along the way,” Castle said.
Auto Finance Excellence asked Castle five questions to learn about his goals for Vroom, his thoughts on lending trends, and a surprising fact his colleagues may not know about him.
Castle, who drives a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, said there is “nothing better than popping the doors off, taking the top down in the middle of the summer and going for a cruise.”
Auto Finance Excellence: What are your company goals in about 10 words or less?
John Castle: Transform the way people buy and sell cars.
AFE: What is your favorite piece of leadership advice you ever received?
JC: Hire people far smarter and that come from different backgrounds than yourself, and then do everything you can to listen and remove obstacles and roadblocks so that they can succeed.
AFE: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
JC: I think we are all shaped by the entirety of our experiences (both good and bad), so would never limit it to one person and/or experience.
AFE: What do you think is the most underrated lending trend?
JC: The consumer demand for an entirely digital lending experience and the speed at which they expect it.
AFE: What’s something your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
JC: That I was the first one in my family to ever attend college and I paid for my entire undergrad myself.
Auto Finance Risk Summit, the premier event for risk and compliance in auto finance, returns May 11-12, 2021 as a virtual experience. The virtual experience will offer the quality networking and education of past events, all through an online platform. To learn more about the 2021 event and register, visit www.AutoFinanceRiskSummit.com.