Ally ends Clearmatch pilot

Ally Financial has axed its pilot of Clearmatch — a digital service designed to approve customers for vehicle financing, connect them with participating dealerships and let them shop those dealerships’ inventory in the platform — just seven months after announcing the program.

Clearmatch, a component of Ally’s direct-lending platform Clearlane, was meant to preapprove customers for financing online before they shopped for vehicles in participating dealers’ inventory. After selecting a vehicle in their price range, customers could obtain financing digitally.

Clearlane, which Ally launched in 2017, connects consumers with more than a dozen finance providers online.

Preapprovals through Clearmatch would not impact customers’ credit scores, the company said in March, and would allow customers to browse vehicles from multiple dealership inventories as well as offers from different financing sources. After customers completed the online shopping and financing process, they would take their approval certificate to the dealership to finalize the transaction.

Auto Finance News first reported the pilot’s termination last week.

With the pilot scheduled for March of this year, the service was intended to launch regionally in the spring. Jeff Danford, Ally’s senior vice president of auto finance, told Auto Finance News that the project did not expand from the pilot stage, without elaborating.

“There was no specific end date,” he said. “We wanted to assess the learnings to determine how best to move forward to meet the needs of our dealers and help them serve their customers.”

He added, “We don’t have a timeline as far as bringing that back, and we’re studying that right now. But it was a step toward digitalization.”