MINI Unveils New Flipped Financing

MINI Financial Services is unveiling a new program for MINI customers, which is aimed at streamlining the purchase process and removing the pressure involved with making a decision. Branded as Flipped Financing, the new concept promises to be easier and more transparent, while also cutting down the time dealerships and customers spend negotiating over a MINI.

The idea is a pretty simple one: All approved credit applicants receive a single advertised interest rate. The process is billed as being straightforward and clear-cut, largely because the single interest rate cuts out the need for additional negotiations relating to different lenders, APRs, and terms.

One rate isn’t the only simplifying factor of Flipped Financing, as the new plan also allows customers 30 days after the purchase of their vehicle to consider and perhaps buy purchase-protection products like extended warranties, GAP insurance, and other contracts.

At the end of the day, MINI’s Flipped Financing Promises customers a crystal-clear financing process where none of the numbers on the page change between a driver deciding they want a certain model, and actually driving off the dealership lot in it. MINI isn’t the only company in the auto market who’s trying to simplify the car-buying process. Over the past several years, countless ventures like Carvana, Fair, Vroom, TrueCar, Shift, and plenty of others have entered the space in hopes of rethinking the way people buy vehicles. The underlying concept is to remove the necessity to visit a dealership to purchase a car, with financing and other terms explained clearly online, and the vehicle of your choice delivered directly to your driveway.

Some things still remain unclear, however, like how Flipped Financing works with the range of individuals FICO scores out there. Is a credit applicant with a Tier 1 FICO score going to be stuck with the same rate as someone with a significantly lower score? What about the other way around? Are borrowers with imperfect credit going to get a break when buying a MINI with Flipped Financing in terms of a lower rate than they could get elsewhere? Neither is probably the case, with a minimum score likely necessary to qualify for Flipped Financing to begin with, but we’re still curious about the specifics. Creating a low-pressure sales environment with a so-called crystal-clear financing process is a great idea, but many individual facets of the plan remain ambiguous.—Alex Tock

[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]

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