Toyota Financial Services is creating three “giant” dealer service centers across the U.S. as the captive aims to support its dealer network around the clock, company President and Chief Executive Mark Templin told Auto Finance News.
The three dealer service centers (DSC) will be located in Chandler, Ariz.; Plano, Texas; and Alpharetta, Ga., Templin said, noting that he had recently signed the lease on the facility in Alpharetta. In fact, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week that the $8 million investment in the East DSC will bring 150 new jobs to the market.
While TFS will continue to have dealer support in markets across the country, the three DSCs will serve as hubs for credit analysts and “all the support functions” that will allow dealers to receive credit approvals and funding faster — at any time of day.
“Now, instead of one credit analyst, who a dealer calls to get their deals, [dealers] can call a team of credit analysts, and there’s always someone available that will answer the phone,” Templin explained. “With the [DSC] we can be open nights, weekends, and we’re available for our dealers all the time.”
TFS formerly had 32 dealer sales and service offices across the country, but reimagining the way the captive serves its dealer network is something that has been “discussed for years,” Templin said. “It’s a huge effort,” he said, “because we’re having to relocate a lot of people from markets all over the country into these three big service centers.”
TFS has already moved its Central dealer service team into its Plano facility, where the captive is headquartered. Since the move, dealers’ feedback has been “fantastic because now they get a hold of people faster, they get their deals back faster, and funding’s faster,” Templin said. “I think that the [Plano DSC] is starting to prove to the rest of the country that this is going to be a really effective solution.”
Establishing the three new DSCs comes on the heels of TFS’ other major focus: adding the Mazda Financial Services business to its portfolio, Templin said. Mazda’s consumer loan and lease financing will make the switch to TFS on April 1.
Adding the Mazda business allows TFS to strategically leverage its scale, Templin said.
“Yes, we are the biggest [auto lender],” he said. “But we think we need to take that scale and leverage that scale to become even bigger to drive down our operating expense ratios, so that we can be even more competitive in the marketplace and support our customers and dealers.”
TFS currently employs roughly 3,200 team members nationwide and has assets totaling more than $122 billion. “I had a picture, for a long time, hanging on the wall in my office of Legos because it’s the way I like to describe [our business],” Templin said. “It’s like we’re building little pieces that all plug together to build and run the businesses the way we need to.”