You might not realize it, but Santander is the largest independent financer of car purchases in Germany, putting it in a great position to leverage relationships to open new lines of business for Santander and auto dealers. That is exactly what it did recently by launching a pilot of car sharing. Yes car sharing. The pilot is spread around Germany and currently has more than 20 dealerships participating. But this iteration of connected cars tech, in this case car sharing, is a new twist. It’s an end-to-end white label program.
In partnership with Carzapp, Santander is able to offer dealerships a new business option not offered by any other bank, positioning Santander as a strategic partner to these dealers and hopefully ensuring a longer relationship. Carzapp provides all of the infrastructure to make the car sharing work behind the scenes – telematics equipment, Web support, and an end-user app to locate and select vehicles for use.
So how does it work? Dealers can approach the process in different ways. Some might use unsold inventories, others could focus on specific models and others could have a varied offer. It’s really up to the dealership to determine its goals before a project starts. Once there’s an idea, Carzapp provides the infrastructure as noted above and Santander goes beyond just financial support to provide sales and marketing support. The dealership receives a toolkit with marketing materials such as flyers, car decals, parking space signage and marketing agency support for its creative needs. In addition, financial processing and call center support are provided by additional partners in the program.
Users are able to access cars across all dealers in the program, allowing for a wider range of choices and locations. Although primarily aimed at tier-two markets – where there isn’t already a great deal of car sharing competition – that isn’t a mandate, and if dealers want to enter a tier-one market they will support them. The cars must be picked up and dropped off within their local area, since they do not allow for point-to-point usage at this time. Find out more by watching the latest video here.
Why would a bank do this? It is my understanding from speaking with Santander that dealers tend to work with three banks on average for their financing needs. This includes the OEMs themselves and usually two banks. Santander wants to be the primary bank and have a long-term relationship with their dealers. The car sharing idea is a way for them to provide more value to the dealers and reduce potential churn. They want to be “unlike any other bank.” What’s next for Santander? In 2016 we might see them expand to corporate car sharing for companies that are not large enough to warrant a dedicated fleet program.
I have to say I am really impressed to see a bank branching out into new services of this type. It really does sound like Santander is “unlike any other bank.”
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Claudia Bacco, Managing Director – EMEA for RCR Wireless News, has spent her entire career in telecom, IT and security. Having experience as an operator, software and hardware vendor and as a well-known industry analyst, she has many opinions on the market. She’ll be sharing those opinions along with ongoing trend analysis for RCR Wireless News.