Chrysler in talks with Santander to make it preferred lender in the U.S.

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 16, 2012

From sources, we learned that Chrysler Group is exclusively meeting with Banco Santander SA to make its U.S. unit the preferred financing provider of the automaker. These negotiations are private so the sources asked to remain anonymous. Chrysler is currently in a 30-day period for the talks with the lender, which will be Chrysler’s primary partner for financing with customers and dealers.

Last September at the Paris Auto Show, Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, said that Chrysler’s financing partners may soon be Santander Holdings USA and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Last April, the automaker said that it will allow its preferred-lender agreement with Ally Financial Inc. to expire in April 2013.

The agreement with Ally, which is based in Detroit, asks Chrysler to permit Ally to finance a minimum percentage of vehicles sold with subvented loans, which are those done for consumers at below-market rates. To account for the difference, automakers would have to pay the lenders.

The agreement that expired fails to cover other businesses that Ally runs with Chrysler dealerships like wholesale financing, or what’s referred to as the standard-rate financing for consumers or leasing. Santander spokeswoman Laurie Kight has yet to comment on these matters. Chrysler, the third largest U.S. automaker to trail behind General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., produces more than $25 billion in auto loans each year.

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