Man sitting behind the steering wheel of a vehicle
ComplianceFinanceSeptember 13, 2022

What’s driving digital transformation and disruption in the auto industry?

Over the past few years, consumers have evolved into tech-savvy, digital-first users. It began with the early adopters of automated processes that disrupted the lending ecosystem and created new norms. Then, the global pandemic further accelerated the adoption of contactless, digital lending technologies.

As a result, the auto industry has witnessed a surge of interest from auto finance and dealer service providers of all sizes to incorporate digital capabilities into their workflows, operations, and consumer-facing offerings. Retailers, tech providers, and lenders are partnering to provide a fully digital car buying experience that consumers are demanding.

Digitizing the auto finance journey

The benefits of data speed, accuracy, and security are driving automotive digitization at a steady pace. Balancing consumer demand and competitiveness requires auto finance and dealer service providers to anticipate and readily respond to rapidly shifting consumer preferences and technology trends.

The Wolters Kluwer Automotive Finance Digital Transformation Index is a key resource for those in the auto industry to identify and track digitization drivers and provide insights into market shifts that may impact adoption. Issued quarterly, the Automotive Finance Digital Transformation Index illustrates the rate at which lenders and automotive retailers adapt to the new digital demands, enabling organizations to benchmark their digital transformation against others in the industry and better position their businesses.

2022 mid-year Index results

According to the Automotive Finance Digital Transformation Index for Q2 2022, auto dealers, service providers, and lenders have seen a 144 percent growth in digital transactions over the last twelve months, including a 282 percent growth rate when comparing Q2 2022 with Q2 of 2021.

Even though the continued decline in auto sales and lease activity impacts the overall Index eContract volume, digital adoption remains high. The Index reports a 78 percent increase in digital adoptions from Q1 to Q2 2022. And 2022 has already exceeded the 2021 YTD volume by 13 percent. As top automotive partners move their platforms into the Wolters Kluwer cloud-based environment, you can expect to see the upward trend in digital adoption continue.

Even with this strong growth trajectory, there’s room for more. In 2021, nine million out of 28 million auto finance originations were eContracted, representing just 32.5 percent of all auto (new/used) loan transactions.

It’s critically important to adopt and achieve this paper-to-digital transformation to improve business processes, remain compliant, reduce risks, achieve higher efficiencies, and satisfy customers through more seamless transactions. This transformation helps automotive professionals proactively keep compliance top of mind with changing regulations and mandates, rather than leaving it on the back burner and opening up to exposure in a paper-based environment.

“Lending transactions are being completed in many places today with new models emerging, such as the adoption of EV, which caters to a more holistic digitized loan origination and document management process,” said Tim Yalich, Head of Auto Strategy for Wolters Kluwer. “In particular, lenders are now looking for seamless, automated and compliant ways to transact and secure the benefits that digital offers over paper. Lenders, third-party providers, and dealers are now leveraging digital ecosystems that are purpose-built to handle the auto finance industry’s origination channel diversity, eliminating the complexities around managing various multi-channel assets post-execution, and drastically reducing operational and time costs.”

What’s next?

The innovators and adopters who invested in digital technology early on are recognizing a return on their investment and have started to deploy technology more broadly. Used vehicle prices have also risen significantly, and many large used car conglomerates rely on digital platforms to efficiently manage the transaction volume. And the demand for touchless and virtual engagements remains high, especially with a continued increase in refinancing activity and consumer lease purchases.

Whether auto finance and dealer service providers should implement digital technologies is no longer the question. As the need for digitization continues to accelerate, leadership may instead focus on how quickly they can adopt the technology to avoid the risk of being left behind.

To access additional data insights from the Wolters Kluwer Automotive Finance Digital Transformation Index, click here.

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