Battle for auto loan customers shifts from dealership to online pre-approval, says JD Power


TROY, Michigan – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – In an auto market plagued by supply shortages and record prices, more vehicle buyers than ever have started seeking auto financing before setting foot in a dealership. According to the JD Power 2021 study on consumer finance satisfaction in the United States,SM released today, auto finance pre-approval has become the top of the funnel for auto loan customer acquisition and brand loyalty, emphasizing digital channels as the starting point of the journey consumer finance.

“The behavior of auto finance customers has fundamentally changed from an exercise that took place largely in the finance department of a dealership to one that took place online more than 30 days before a vehicle was purchased.” , said Patrick Roosenberg, Director of Automotive Financial Intelligence at JD Power. “Almost half (45%) of all customers now research before financing a vehicle and their experiences with lenders can have a huge influence on this process. It’s really incumbent on lenders to deliver a superior customer experience to existing customers and to position their websites and consumer marketing initiatives to maximize conversions. ”

Here are the main findings of the 2021 study:

  • Pre-approval becomes the keystone of the car financing journey: Almost half (45%) of all auto loan customers research financing options before purchasing a new vehicle. The proportion climbs to 62% among members of Generation Z.1 Ultimately, 60% of customers who buy auto finance options online end up asking for pre-approval.
  • The search for automobile financing begins one month before a purchase: Among most auto loan customers who research financing options before a purchase, the research process begins more than 30 days before the purchase or lease of a vehicle. The effective use of requested and unsolicited pre-approvals can lead to a higher rate of customer recovery and winning opportunities.
  • The memory remains: Current and past experiences with auto lenders are more important than ever, as many customers begin the buying process because of marketing information or inducements they have received from their existing lender or auto manufacturer.
  • Personalization is the next frontier: Customers have different preferences as to how they want to manage their accounts and be contacted by lenders. As this interaction continues to move to digital channels, lenders will need to tailor their reach to the needs of individual clients.

Ranking of studies

BMW Financial Services ranks first in customer satisfaction among luxury brands, with a score of 874. Chase Finance Automotive (871) ranks second and Allied financial (865) occupies third place.

Ford Credit ranks # 1 among consumer brands, with a score of 867. Capital One auto financing (863) ranks second and Honda Financial Services (860) ranks third.

The recently revamped US Consumer Finance Satisfaction Survey measures overall customer satisfaction based on five factors (listed alphabetically): billing and payment process; mobile application experience; Boarding process; original process; and website experience. The study was carried out in July-August 2021 and is based on responses from 10,462 customers who have financed a new or used vehicle through a loan or lease in the past three years.

For more information on the US Consumer Finance Satisfaction Survey, visit

To view the press release online, please visit

About JD Power

JD Power is a global leader in consumer information, advisory services, data and analytics. A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, JD Power has for more than 50 years provided incisive industrial intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products. The world’s largest companies in major industries trust JD Power to guide their customer-centric strategies.

JD Power has offices in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. To learn more about the company’s commercial offerings, visit The JD Power automatic purchase tool is available at

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1 JD Power defines generational groups as Pre-Boomers (born before 1946); baby boomers (1946-1964); Gen X (1965-1976); and Generation Y (1977-1994); and Generation Z (1995-2004). The Xennials (1978-1981) and Millennials (1982-1994) are subsets of Generation Y.


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