For those of you who have been waiting for an app that will enable you to lease a car without ever setting foot in a dealership, your rocket ship has landed. Honcker is an app that enables consumers to find online lease deals easily and lease a new car in just three swipes on their mobile device. If they’d like, they can then have it delivered to their home the next day. Of course, before they make those three swipes, prospective lessees must upload a significant amount of their personal information into the app. But most would say the ability to do that from your couch rather than in a dealership office makes the process much more palatable.
Dismal leasing experience inspired Honcker’s creation
That is just what Honcker founder and CEO Nathan Hecht was trying to do, as he told us in the extensive interview that accompanies this story. Hecht is a serial entrepreneur whose previous businesses have included semiconductor, virtual currency and cybersecurity companies. But it was his experience as a consumer, not a tech mogul, that inspired the creation of Honcker. His effort to lease a Nissan Maxima from a local dealer was so filled with frustrations and disappointments that Hecht decided he could figure out a better way.
Nathan Hecht interview, pt 1
Nathan Hecht interview, pt 2
Fast-forward the file two years or so and Honcker now boasts an eight-state footprint of affiliated dealers. New York-based, it is heavy in the Northeast and has made serious inroads in California. Now it is in the process of bringing other markets online so it can give every user a robust number of vehicles from which to choose.
What’s in it for consumers? First, the app enables them to shop for car leases without the necessity to visit a dealership. Typically, consumers seeking online lease deals on a particular make-model will be presented with several vehicles that closely match their criteria, and, importantly they will see the actual monthly payments that apply to their proposed deals calculated online in real time. Instead of viewing an advertised price that usually just starts the negotiation, prospective car-buyers will be able to choose from deals that are individualized to match their credit profile. Honcker-affiliated dealers agree to honor and transact at the price and with the terms presented online, so consumers can complete a lease transaction in a few swipes. If desired, they can also have their car delivered the next day.
Dealers compete against one another for Honcker customers
Hecht told us that since several dealerships participate in Honcker in each market, those dealers essentially compete against each other for the lease-customer’s business. That helps assure consumers that the deal they sign up for is a competitive one. In fact, it could well be better than the lease deal an individual consumer could negotiate even after spending hours in a dealership.
For you prospective lessees out there who do not reside in Honcker’s eight-state sphere of influence, don’t despair. Hecht promised us that the company is rapidly expanding and is also adding dealerships and vehicle inventory in its current markets. The company recently secured a reported $23 million investment to facilitate its expansion efforts to offer online lease deals to more consumers.
With leasing zooming in popularity, other companies are also seeking to play in this space. Plus, individual dealers are adding capabilities to serve their lease customers online, streamlining or virtually eliminating the in-dealership negotiation process. For many, that is a waking dream.