General Motors Corp. is betting that new digital financial services will drive up sales of auto parts to corporate fleet managers through its dealer network.
The auto maker is offering fleet operators access to instant credit, consolidated electronic invoicing, extended payment terms and customized discounts through its Fleet Parts Discount Program website, providing its dealers a tool to attract new customers.
To deliver these services, GM is working with MSTS, a provider of B2B payment and credit technology and services. Nearly 1,400 participating Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC dealers, and their fleet operator customers, will be able to access MSTS’ credit as a service (CaaS) application suite through the website, GM says.
“When it comes to B2B, anything that can make it easier for fleet managers to minimize paperwork and streamline purchases is appreciated by dealers and their customers,” says Lance Zimmerman, national fleet parts manager at GM Customer Care and Aftersales. “This is a way for fleet managers to have a single source of data and pricing that can help them better manage their fleet and for our dealers to attract new fleet customers.”
Handling transactions valued at $1 million+
Participating GM dealers can use the MSTS CaaS software suite to extend credit lines at terms of between net 30 days and 90 days. While MSTS typically approves credit lines of up to $250,000, GM will determine the cap on credit lines offered to fleet managers. Credit lines could be as high as the millions of dollars, depending on GM’s preferences, MSTS President Brandon Spear says.
GM dealers receive payment within 48 hours and MSTS handles all accounts receivable and collections for missed payments. All invoices and account portals that can view credit lines will display the GM brand.
GM’s Fleet Parts Discount Program offers discounts on more than 450,000 GM parts and ACDelco maintenance and repair parts to commercial, government and rental fleets. Discounts vary by fleet size and can reach as high as 32%. The program officially launched in March.
One of the benefits of consolidated electronic invoicing to fleet managers, Spear says, is that they get an accurate record of the price they pay and the discount they receive in one place. “A big part of what we do with GM is coordinate pricing across their dealer network so customers accessing the website see pricing that is customized for them,” Spear says. “When a fleet operator negotiates a price, making sure the right discounts are shown can be a challenge. We bring the continuity that ensures customers see the right price.”
Managing a widespread discount program
In addition to the GM Fleet Parts Discount Program website, MSTS also provides services to GM’s FleetTrac, Mega Fleet, and National Fleet Maintenance programs.
MSTS, which has been providing other services to GM since 2001, says it will charge GM a percentage of each invoice, without being more specific. Typically, MSTS charges 1.75% per transaction. That rate can be as much as 40% lower than credit card interchange fees, MSTS’s website says. MSTS offers multiple payment options including transactions via the banking industry’s Automated Clearinghouse (ACH), wire, direct debit, EFT, check or cash. MST says it processes more than $5 billion in transactions annually.
“We offer fleet managers a way to effectively manage their parts purchases,” Spear says, while freeing dealers from having to “worry about invoicing, qualifying fleet customers for credit, and managing accounts receivable.”
Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.
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