CBQ: AutoOne Group: A smarter vehicle ownership experience

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CBQ: AutoOne Group: A smarter vehicle ownership experience

One of Canada’s largest and most customer-focused automotive leasing companies, AutoOne has locations in Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax, and offers a broad range of custom in-house leasing options.

Genesis - AutoOne

AutoOne’s digital leasing process and friendly team of passionate car people offer an easy, customizable, and smarter vehicle ownership experience. The company’s unparalleled range of complimentary services includes used vehicle sales and leasing, vehicle service and maintenance, sourcing of unique or hard-to-find vehicles, and a range of flexible commercial leasing solutions. AutoOne’s experienced team is committed to servicing clients across Canada with a transparent and respectful shopping experience, and the most flexible leasing solutions for every unique need and financial situation.

AutoOne has a focus on digital innovation and is constantly striving to make their customer’s experience as seamless and easy as possible. Their Digital Brand and Growth Manager, Kate Andrews, spoke with us recently about the formation of the company and the digital innovations that are continuing to drive AutoOne forward.

From Traditional to Transformational

“AutoOne was formed in 2012,” Kate explains. “We like to say that we brought together five companies that needed saving to create a new type of luxury leasing company. We acquired 50 employees as well as a lease portfolio of approximately 2,000 leases, split between retail and commercial leasing.”

The retail business was primarily focused on luxury cars, with a small selection of everyday brands. The commercial business included fleet vehicles, such as cargo vans, and pickup trucks and daily drivers for smaller business operators.

“All of this was started by – and continues to be led by – Kevin Andrews. He’s a passionate car guy who came from the banking world and was able to combine his business expertise and his passion to create AutoOne.”

Kevin Andrews - AutoOne
The founder of AutoOne, Kevin Andrews is a passionate car guy who’s combined his business expertise with his love of automobiles

Initially the company operated in a rather traditional way; they had a number of sales consultants working with other dealers and companies to bring in customers and build leases for them. Working with a lot of commercial businesses, this method proved to be very paper heavy.

“We worked with a lot of businesses, where our consultants had to manually verify all the company information, analyze financial statements, and build the leases themselves. It was a bit of a time-intensive process, but we were able to keep working that way with the 2,000 leases that we had acquired.”

The company soon found, that this approach was creating stagnation in the business. However, Rozmin Patel, Managing Director, had a vision for the company; imagining an expanded clientele and offering a seamless and digital experience for customers. AutoOne decided to take a new approach and introduced digital capabilities that would elevate the business and push it forward. In an ever-changing world, Rozmin wanted the company wanted to adapt accordingly.

“We wanted to create more efficient scaling of the business. We wanted to add to our lease portfolio, to better combat fraud associated with manual verification, to better meet and predict consumer needs in the changing economic landscape, and we wanted to differentiate ourselves.”

In order to accomplish this, AutoOne decided to implement new and innovative digital strategies. The first step was to create a custom website to better showcase their new inventory to businesses and customers.

“The website is incredibly interactive and user friendly,” Kate says. “It has great features, like extensive search filters, a digital payment wheel – where you can preview your lease options – and instant pre-qualification forms.”

AutoOne Group Manager Kate Andrews in The Canadian Business Quarterly
AutoOne has been actively improving their digital capabilities including a new custom website better showcasing their inventory to businesses and customers

This was the beginning of an influx of new retail customers that needed to be verified and onboarded, which led to the implementation of even more digital capabilities. Pre-qualification forms, soft credit polls, and a digital customer management system were just a few of the additional technologies added to help create a seamless process.

“Overall, we began to make a change to our leasing process, and while we had some consumers begin to adapt to a new digital way, there was still much resistance.”

 While they were in the middle of doing all this, they got hit by covid.

“We were really lucky that we had already begun creating this digital process, because really that was the only way to continue operating.”

The company continued to refine and embrace this process of digitalization, which resulted in partnerships with Flinks, Jumio, and Docusign to further innovate the leasing process. Flinks is a financial verification platform that links to user’s bank accounts and allows for instant financial analysis and credit verification. Jumio is a personal verification application that allows us to collect and validate driver’s license data, as well as confirm the user matches the license submitted and is a real person. Docusign is a document sending and signing platform that allows the sharing and signing of all documents pertaining to a lease. These applications allow for a quick and easy process.

“We also saw other systems commonly used by dealerships become more digitally advanced. We now had better access to credit score information, vehicle valuations, and residuals, which made our lease building process easier and quicker.”

These digital advancements helped the company create an online credit portal for all its consumer and retail clients. Customers can now be approved within minutes and given direct access to all the relevant details of their lease.

“This allowed us to scale the business even more. We’re now up to 3,000 active leases, and most excitingly we were able to build a dealer partnership model. We’re able to allow other dealers to use these identity and financial verification systems on their own customers, build their own custom leases and receive online decision making in minutes, all through our own system. We’re currently the only leasing company offering this to other dealers, and we’re really proud of it.”

With all of these changes, the volume of growth in leases has grown significantly, and the company expects it to continue this way. Now, AutoOne is focusing on how to offer their customers additional products, services, and benefits.

Range Rover - AutoOne
AutoOne is one of Canada’s largest and most customer-focused automotive leasing companies with locations in Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax

“We’ve decided to implement two new customer focused digital innovations to build on top of our process innovations.” Kate says. “The first one is a partnership with Vivid Theory the tech behind   HeyAuto to create a digital system where customers can access full information on their lease and their vehicle, as well as contact AutoOne at any given point.”

This will allow consumers to enter the system and open up a wide range of information about their ongoing lease, such as the lease term, when the next payment is due, the residual value of their car, and options to buy out of the lease within the system. There will also be a dealer side of this, for external dealers to receive basic analytics on their customers with AutoOne as well as keep contact with their customers.

“The second innovation that we’re adding is an AI-powered Chatbot, which actually just launched on our website. It is a great way for consumers to be able to go on our website and get almost all of the information they need on leasing or buying a car in one place. This also speeds up their research process by allowing them to collect all their information in one place and removes having to wait for people to email them back.”

With a commitment to making consumer’s lives easier through digital innovations, AutoOne is exciting about the future possibilities it can offer customers.

What Our Clients Say...

  • I chose the car lease length and term easily to fit my needs. Dealing with the team at AUTO ONE was a truly great experience. —Sarah R., Burnaby BC
  • Thanks again guys for a great experience, you earned yourself a customer for life and will be back for every other luxury car I'm ever gonna buy! —Rez Z., Toronto ON
  • My husband and I have purchased a few cars at AUTO ONE. Really is unlike any other luxury car dealership. We have always been extremely happy with the customer service. —Jocelynn P., Toronto ON
  • I have been doing business here for years. Awesome staff and they really work hard to accommodate your vehicle needs! —James S., Toronto ON
  • I'm on my 3rd car from AUTO ONE. They are super flexible, I was able structure my car lease to max out savings through my business. Thanks again guys! —Radhi K., Toronto ON
  • We had a great experience when purchasing our latest car at AUTO ONE, and would highly recommend to others! —Jennifer E., Halifax NS