$600,000 per year to $3 MILLION per year – the average annual profit that new-car dealers made comparing 2019 pre-pandemic Australia to 2021 according to data from research firm Deloitte.
With the help of Alex Bodriagin, Nodifi’s National Business Development Manager and Price My Car founder, David Lye, we dive into financing cars in Australia’s current climate to discover trends and opportunities for our partners and their clients.
- 19.5 million registered motor vehicles in Australia (January 2019)
- Total new car sales 2019: 1,062,867 vehicles
- 19.8 million registered motor vehicles in Australia (January 2020)
- Total new car sales 2020: 916,968 vehicles (-13.7%)
- 20.1 million registered motor vehicles in Australia (January 2021)
- Total new car sales 2021: 1,049,831 vehicles (14.5%)
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the value of new loan commitments for the purchase of road vehicles rose 3.2% in May this year, after a fall of 6.7% in April – or from $1.173bn in April to $1.21bn in May.
That’s despite increasing new car delivery times. Price My Car’s New Car Delivery Estimator tallied August’s average wait time at an all-time high of 159 days wait across all brands / models in Australia. That’s up 600% on pre-pandemic wait times.
“Demand has remained very resilient but supply chain issues, particularly due to the global chip shortage, have delivered a historic seller’s market”, explains Price My Car founder, David Lye.
“Almost across the board, dealers have more buyers than sellers so it’s a case of getting your order in and waiting in line”, says Mr Lye.
Dealer penetration in Australia
At the beginning of 2021, there were over 1,500 new car dealers in Australia responsible for more than 2,600 outlets. In other words, around 1 new car outlet per 9,800 people.
Today, the network sits at around 3,000 outlets, or around 1 new car outlet per 8,500 people.
This increase reflects consumers shifting to a different kind of focus and dealers meeting such demands.
These days, there’s much less focus on travelling long distances to get the cheapest vehicle possible.
After-sales servicing and a more pleasant experience for car buyers are things that not only get customers through the door, but keep them there too. Well-stocked waiting rooms, lounges in some cases, with free drinks and even food aren’t just for premium brands anymore.
In part, this has meant the need for a more convenient experience – aka; more choice, less distance.
The motor vehicle finance industry by no means relies solely on car sales. Ancillary services, which include things like sale of spare parts, after-sale services (such as ongoing servicing) and the sale of insurance make up a large portion of the industry’s profitability. As does vehicle financing.
According to ASIC, car dealers have two main sources of finance-related income from a sale:
- Financial benefits from lenders, including commissions for individual loans, volume bonuses and ‘soft dollar benefits’ – benefits received other than a basic cash commission or direct client fee
- Charging the consumer a dealer origination fee for assisting in the provision of finance
The actual price that buyers paid (and are paying) for vehicles is also worth noting, for example the Toyota Yaris which is commanding an eye-watering 94% increase since January 2019.
As Alex Bodriagin, a dealer-world veteran himself explains, these revenue streams paint an interesting picture.
“This is why offering competitive vehicle financing solutions to all circumstances is a necessity in the car dealer world”, says Mr Bodriagin.
“From my experience, dealers who offer a variety of finance options with the knowledge and answers to back them up benefit from repeat and referred business, plus strengthened customer relationships.”
Nodifi’s numbers reflect industry trends
In January 2021, the average car loan size (total amount financed) was around $30,000. Today, that figure sits at just over $42,000 based on 2022’s data to date.
Other data in 2022 shows
- The 18-29 year old age group is requesting the most car loans with the 30-39 group following closely behind
- Consistent with 2021, 5 years is still the most popular term with 7 years coming in second place
- The average loan repayment is $591 per month
On the commercial side of the coin
- Japanese-branded trucks and late-model prime movers are seeing higher prices
- The instant asset write-off scheme is still driving demand for yellow goods and agricultural machinery
The bulk of car dealers in Australia offer finance, however they are limited to a small portion (typically 2 or 3) of the overall car financiers in Australia.
This means that when clients don’t fit the criteria of these limited number of car financiers, the risk of losing business increases, sometimes dramatically.
Dealerships with arrangements with asset finance aggregators naturally have a higher finance penetration in contrast to those that simply have floorplan financiers. The mark on a dealer’s bottom line can be drastic, as the following shows.
|Finance Penetration Increase
||Additional Revenue per Month
* Figures based on 100 dealership sales per month and an average of finance commissions (excludes service, aftercare, insurances)
In other words, financing 5 extra cars per month could deliver an additional $14,000 and up to an extra $42,000 on the basis of an additional 15 sales per month.
To cater for any increase, dealers can employ the following:
- Get more out of current staff i.e., business managers
- Employ additional business managers
- Utilise virtual business managers (VBMs)
“VBMs are becoming a popular solution for a variety of reasons such as no costs when not in use, on-demand support for financing seekers and support for existing business managers.
“Nodifi has seen dealer partners relying heavily on VBMs recently to remedy everything from staff shortages to busy periods and ultimately, prevent any potential customer from walking out the door empty handed”, Mr Bodriagin.
The car finance industry in Australia is incredibly lucrative. With the right support and approach, dealerships can capitalise on this market with simple tweaks to current business operations.
The team at Nodifi are all too happy to provide assistance on how to scale finance operations in a bid to increase finance penetration and ultimately, generate additional revenue.
The Nodifi platform assists a large and growing number of dealerships (consumer and commercial) in ensuring no customer leaves without options.
Talk to Nodifi today by getting in touch with Alex Bodriagin via email: mailto: email@example.com
*data sources: abs.gov.au, canstarblue.com.au, Nodifi, Pickles Auctions, Price My Car