NYC private equity firm takes majority stake in Berlin-based AutoLenders

Crestview Partners may take regional player (which already has $700M revenue) to national scene

AutoLenders, the Berlin-based regional platform for financing, buying and selling automobiles with approximately $700 million in annual revenues, may be going national.

On Monday, Crestview Partners — a private equity firm based in New York City — announced it has taken a majority investment in the company.

AutoLenders leverages a unique dataset accumulated through decades of involvement across the full lifecycle of automobiles to originate and manage a $1 billion portfolio of new automobile leases, acquire vehicles directly from consumers and operate previously owned automobile dealerships in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

With Crestview’s investment and support, AutoLenders expects to continue to expand its operations throughout the East Coast as the next step towards becoming a nationwide leader.

AutoLenders founder and CEO Mike Wimmer said the company’s strategy always has been to provide market-leading service and innovative products.

“By creating a data-driven and customer-centric business, AutoLenders has been able to expand at multiples of the industry growth rate and become a leading player in our geographies,” he said.

“We are now at the point where we want to take advantage of the favorable market trends for the automotive retail industry and continue to grow throughout the East Coast, with the ultimate goal of becoming a nationwide leader in the fast-evolving previously owned vehicle market.

“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Crestview on this next step of the company’s journey. They are experienced investors with a history of backing businesses poised for growth beyond their core geographies.”

Dan Kilpatrick, partner and head of financial services at Crestview, said the company is in a great position.

“AutoLenders sits at the intersection of many of Crestview’s investments across the automotive landscape, in specialty finance companies and behind businesses with rapid dealership expansion strategies,” he said. “As we have gotten to know the company, it has become clear that the team at AutoLenders is set to thrive in an increasingly digital and dynamic automotive marketplace.

“By leveraging proprietary data analytics, coupled with decades of experience from every vantagepoint of automotive retail, AutoLenders is able to nimbly target the right vehicles to profitably finance, buy and sell.”

The used car market represents the largest single domestic consumer category in the United States, with approximately $840 billion in annual sales, but has notably low e-commerce penetration and remains highly fragmented, with the industry leader at approximately 2% market share.

AutoLenders has developed a unique business model to succeed in this fast-evolving marketplace. The company utilizes an omnichannel platform for buying and selling, allowing its customers to choose between or combine online and in-store shopping experiences, and by maintaining a differentiated supply of the highest quality previously owned vehicles for sale in the industry.