Most automotive consumers buy vehicles on credit. Now, many of them are using payment plans to cover their car-repair bills.
Technology company Sunbit says its financial services are available at 10% of auto dealerships nationwide. It expects that to double by the end of this year.
Auto repairs often are unexpected expenses that can disrupt personal budgets. Consequently, more dealership auto parts and service departments offer monthly-installment plans, the company says, adding that an average American household with two vehicles can expect to spend about $817 on annual car repairs.
The company says 1,500 dealerships joined the program last year. Clients include auto groups such as Lithia Motors, Ken Garff, Group 1, Norm Reeves, Browning Auto and Greenway Automotive.
The availability of a payment plan can motivate some consumers to stop putting off vehicle service work, says Matt Browning, Browning’s executive vice president.
Service department payment plans enhance the customer experience, says Todd Heitz, Greenway’s national corporate fixed-operations director. “We can offer every single approved customer an opportunity to pay over time, with personalized rates and payment options that best fit their needs. That was previously unheard of.”
Sunbit uses machine-learning technology to personalize plans and rates across the credit spectrum. Customers can choose to pay over three, six and 12 months.