By Vince Bond Jr. for Automotive News
The mobile leasing app Honcker is expanding its reach.
The app — which enables consumers to strike a new-vehicle lease deal without entering a showroom — launched in beta form in September in Southern California and in the New York Tri-State area, but it’s now available throughout California and could soon hit the Chicago area. The app launched officially in mid-November.
More than 200 new-vehicle dealerships in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida and California have signed onto the leasing platform as stores seek ways to accommodate consumers who don’t want to set foot in dealerships to complete deals.
Honcker sends lease offers to consumers after a “soft credit check” that’s executed based on information such as name and address that is provided upon registration to the app, said Nathan Hecht, CEO of Honcker Inc. Once the deal is made, clients can have their vehicles delivered to them by the dealership and sign the paperwork at that time.
Hecht said the company is beginning to focus its efforts on dealers in South Florida. He hopes to pick up customers in Ohio and Michigan as well.
In the past few weeks, Hecht said he’s seeing dealers on the platform get aggressive with their lease pricing on 2016 models to clear space for new inventory.
“As we move deeper into the markets we’re in and open up new markets, we’re on pace to meet our own internal numbers that we’re setting for ourselves to get into many hundreds of dealers on board,” Hecht told Automotive News.
The stores upload their products to the app through inventory providers such as DealerSocket or vAuto. The dealerships operate on a dashboard where they can control details such as pricing, accessories and what F&I options to offer.
A store can go into the app, for example, and trim $500 off the invoice prices for specific vehicles or the entire inventory. The leases are then calculated from those discounted prices.
The app automatically applies the available conquest or loyalty rebates when a customer registers by asking them what vehicle they are coming out of.
Honcker is looking to add a feature that will allow dealerships to notify customers when prices drop on the vehicles they’re interested in.
“Dealers are like the rest of us,” Hecht said. “They know the world is evolving into this digital universe. If they finally got a product where they can take their stores onto the Internet, why not?”