In a Nutshell: When it comes to a major purchase like an automobile, comparison shopping is crucial — and the same is true of auto financing. That’s why CarLoans.com.au was designed with an ever-growing pool of lenders to help Australians access the best rates on car loans. Its concierge service guides clients through the entire lending process, assessing both their automotive and financial needs before assisting them in selecting the ideal products. As part of the Eclipx Group, CarLoans.com.au can leverage its parent company’s buying power to help customers find the perfect car, as well. The company plans to expand its lender pool and use its industry power to offer clients greater savings and benefits over the course of their car-buying and ownership journeys.
In 2006, a pair of entrepreneurs had an idea that would disrupt the Australian auto loan industry. Under the nation’s classic broker model, borrowers could only access financing through banks or dealerships — and the latter typically only offered a single financier. That model offered borrowers limited options and flexibility when buying a car.
The solution to that problem was to radically expand lender choices in a novel way. The two entrepreneurs recruited banks and non-bank lenders to offer auto loans through an online platform — CarLoans.com.au. This approach provided more choices and greater transparency for Australian consumers.
In 2014, CarLoans.com.au was acquired by the Eclipx Group, which started as a private equity firm before expanding its operation by bringing other successful companies under its umbrella. Using its size as leverage, the group can now access better auto loans for consumers and increase the number of lenders offered on the platform.
“We carry 20 to 21 lenders at any one time, and we’re rotating them on a quarterly basis to ensure we’re getting the best coverage we can for customers,” said David Brudenell, Managing Director at Eclipx Group.
Under Eclipx, CarLoans.com.au can help Australians get the best rates on car loans. Its concierge-based process guides borrowers through their options and helps them select the product and vehicle best-suited to their personal and financial needs.
“We have a success rate of over 98% in our apps because we take the time to go through the process. On top of that, with subprime customers, we’re not motivated based on margin. We’re motivated because we’re the biggest in the industry,” Brudenell said. “We’ll work to get the best interest rate possible for that customer.”
While CarLoans.com.au helps consumers finance vehicles, it does more than just purvey loans. It finds customers the best price on insurance and discounts on new and used cars through its fleet buying power. More than just helping consumers get a loan, CarLoans.com.au and Eclipx Group stick with customers through every step of car ownership.
“We want to deliver customers products throughout your entire car-buying journey,” Brudenell said.
Concierge-Based Service Ensures the Best Deals On Both Cars and Rates
For CarLoans.com.au customers, the car-buying journey begins with an online application, which can be submitted at any time. The site provides applicants with a quote, and a CarLoans.com.au representative helps them through the next steps of the process.
“When it comes to car finance, customers could be looking for a rate, weekly payments, the type of car, and a lot of parameters you don’t think about when you’re under the pressure of a dealership,” Brudenell said. “Because we’re at arm’s length from all of these lenders, we can have really comfortable conversations with people.”
Then, the company discusses what kind of payment the customer can realistically afford and takes the time to listen and match an offer to their needs. The company considers buying a car the second-largest purchase in a person’s life and takes its role in the buying process seriously.
CarLoans.com.au agents are trained to take all aspects and expenses of car ownership into account when working with clients. How many people will be driving the car? Will it be used to drive kids to school? How far apart are the customer’s home and workplace? Those answers help the agent and borrower calculate fuel and maintenance costs. Agents will also assess if the customer is carrying debt, and when that debt is due. This information allows them to align payments to the customer’s schedule and ensure he or she can pay back the loan.
“We do those things so the person doesn’t default. Everyone’s circumstances are different, obviously, so we try to accommodate that person’s aspirations,” Brudenell said. “We match them with the right lender and get them a good car discount.”
CarLoans.com.au agents are available 18 hours a day to accommodate consumers’ varied schedules. The application can likewise proceed at whatever pace the customer wishes.
“This process can happen all at once if the customer really wants to get a car, or it can happen over a number of meetings,” Brudenell said.
Leveraging Corporate Buying Power to Benefit Consumers
For Eclipx, the auto financing process is just one part of the car-buying journey, and the group owns a business that can help consumers at every step. The company can help those with bad credit find both the right lender and the right car from its network of buying channels.
“We own a used car business and a new car business. We buy nearly $1.5 billion worth of new cars every single year with our fleet companies,” Brudenell said. “In addition to getting customers the best possible rate on a car loan, we’ll get them either a new car or a used car for the best price.”
The Eclipx Group owns and operates GraysOnline, a web retail and auction site, and sells about 40,000 used cars on the platform each year. Customers who qualify for a car loan can also turn to Georgie.com.au, also owned by Eclipx. Just as CarLoans.com.au helps customers find a loan, Georgie.com.au provides consultant-based, personalised service to help customers purchase a new car.
“A concierge will take you through and ask you the right questions,” Brudenell said. “But with Georgie, because we buy $1.5 billion worth of new cars every single year for our fleet businesses, we can provide remarkable savings on cars. Our average savings on a new car in Australia is $4,500.”
Alongside lenders, CarLoans.com.au also works with a number of insurers to get clients the best price on coverage. “Based on how you’re going to use a car, you’re going to get the optimal value out of insurance,” Brudenell said.
Earning Customer Loyalty by Guiding Them Through the Buying Process
The commitment of CarLoans.com.au to its clients goes beyond simply getting them a loan and a car. The company sticks with them through the entire experience of owning the car.
One way the company accomplishes that is through a program to help subprime borrowers. Between six months and a year after their purchase, CarLoans.com.au will contact those subprime customers. If they’ve made all their payments and their credit score has improved — which is likely — CarLoans.com.au will refinance their loan so they can keep more cash in their pocket.
And when a customer decides to buy another car, CarLoans.com.au can help them with that, and get them a good price for their old car as well.
“When that person’s ready to get another car, we own another business called Are You Selling, which is similar to a trade-in business,” Brudenell said. “Because Are You Selling is part of the Eclipx Group — and we have $2.6 billion in treasury funding — we’ll buy your car that day and pay you within 24 hours. We can get people cash for their cars quickly.”
Are You Selling offers online valuations and quick transactions for clients across Australia. The service can give customers cash in hand for their old vehicle — a payout that can further reduce the expense of their next auto purchase.
Committed to Improving Australian Car-Buying Experiences
Carloans.com.au began as an innovative company with a fresh idea about providing the best loans and rates to car buyers in Australia. And far from just staying the course, the company is working to improve its services even further.
“People are starting to turn over their cars more quickly. What we’re seeing at CarLoans.com.au is the average ownership of a car is around 3-4 years — which is quite quick,” Brudenell said. “That means there’s a great opportunity for us to get a person into a car again and finance them again.”
The company’s future plans include offering customers more options and benefits and growing its market share. The company is also actively seeking to expand the pool of banks and non-bank lenders with which it works. This will enable the company to provide a stress-free marketplace for auto loans so clients can feel comfortable that they’re getting the best deal.
“Given where the marketplace is going, in terms of overall transparency, through the next financial year, we’re rapidly expanding our number of lenders. We want them all,” Brudenell said. “We’re going to provide the expert lens on top of it. We’ll have your profile, the lenders’ profile, and make a match through personal service and technology.”
CarLoans.com.au already boasts the largest lender profile in Australia. By onboarding new lenders and expanding its offerings, the company plans to match more customers with the right loan, put them in the right car, and get them on the road to savings and financial security.