AutoGravity EVP Keeps Focus on Lender Partners, Following Hyundai Capital America Alliance | Auto Finance News

AutoGravity EVP Keeps Focus on Lender Partners, Following Hyundai Capital America Alliance

Hyundai Capital America is the latest captive to announce it has joined the AutoGravity platform, and AutoGravity’s new Executive Vice President of Business Development Stuart Holmes has his “head down and focused” to ensure the company’s current and potential lender partners’ needs are met.

Hyundai Capital America — which does business as Hyundai Motor Finance, Kia Motors Finance, and Genesis Finance — announced in late September that it had teamed up with AutoGravity.

Currently available only in California, financing through HCA is now offered to AutoGravity users searching for financing for a Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis. The digital buy-sell platform has already secured investments from VW Credit Inc. and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, in addition to partnerships with a suite of lenders like Westlake Financial Services and First Investors Financial Services.

Based in Irvine, Calif., AutoGravity uses proprietary technology to connect car shoppers, lenders, and dealers through a digital marketplace. More than 700,000 consumers had downloaded the AutoGravity app as of mid-September, up 40% from June 2016. The company works with more than 2,000 dealers, according to Holmes.

Holmes joined the AutoGravity team on Aug. 11, after serving nearly three years as co-founder and chief marketing and business development officer for Prior to Springboard, Holmes led business development at CarFinance Capital and spent eight years at Dealertrack Technologies.

Holmes spoke with Auto Finance News about his top priorities in his new role and what he looks for when scouting lender partners for the platform. Following are edited excerpts from the interview:

AutoGravity’s new Executive Vice President of Business Development Stuart Holmes

Auto Finance News: What drew you to AutoGravity’s platform versus

Stuart Holmes: The auto industry is a tight community and there is a lot of cross-pollination. If you have been in it long enough you tend to come across paths of people who see the world the way you do. I was fortunate enough to work with several of the team here at multiple other companies, and when we were starting Springboard, AutoGravity was founding. I was intrigued at the approach that they were taking and the team that they had assembled. Ultimately, when I made the decision to leave Springboard, I was planning to take some time off, and thankfully the team here reached out and we talked. Where they have come in last two years is nothing short of amazing.

AFN: What are your goals for future growth?

SH: One of the things that attracted me to AutoGravity is that there is quite a bit of buzz around the company. And that includes a lot of the prospective partners, whether that be dealers, lenders, or relevant third-party digital platforms that we can partner with. There is no shortage of opportunity for us to partner and grow. So, more explicitly, the goal for us over the next 12 to 18 months is to continue to grow our dealer base and lender base substantially.

AFN: What types of lender partners are you scouting for the platform?

SH: We look at the same data points the rest of the industry does, and there is a significant number of users that are downloading and engaging on the AutoGravity platform that will make it attractive to lessors, finance companies, captives, and banks: prime, nonprime, and subprime. We are interested in helping them source profitable customers that they may not otherwise attract on their own.

AFN: How do you view competition from other platforms in the market — like AutoFi and ClearLane?

SH: Make no mistake, when you have a market that is the size of auto — it’s over $1 trillion in auto loan outstandings — it’s going to attract a lot of very smart people that want to attack the market. Be that as it may — there are a lot of constituents; it’s a very fragmented and complicated market, and the team that AutoGravity has put together truly understands the automotive space, the automotive finance space, and the dealership operations, processes, and flows. AutoGravity has built a platform to bridge that gap and meet the needs of every one of those constituents. That in itself is why AutoGravity is uniquely positioned to be successful. When you layer on partners, it makes for a compelling case to continue to grow.

AFN: What are some other initiatives you plan to take on in this new role?

SH: At the moment, it is head down and focused on evaluating the current state where we are with the dozens of partners we have and potential partners, and identifying the last items we need to continue to get them onboarded, get them live, and — more importantly — making sure we are meeting their needs as well as the needs of our customers.

AFN: As lines blur between mobility and traditional auto finance, how is AutoGravity preparing for this continued evolution?

SH: Certainly with the model of rideshare and the success of companies like Uber and Lyft, there is a place for those entities within everyday consumers’ transportation needs. At the end of the day, it doesn’t 100% replace the need for vehicles. With the average price of vehicles exceeding $20,000, it’s a very expensive proposition and most people finance. So, there is a lot of runway and opportunity for AutoGravity to continue to meet those users’ needs and provide them the opportunity to shop for a vehicle and arrange financing in the comfort of their own home. We are already knocking down some of those traditional barriers and smoothing out the process so it is quick, painless, and ultimately satisfying

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