Stellantis said it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire F1 Holdings, parent company of First Investors Financial Services Group, an independent auto finance company in the US, in an all cash transaction for around US$285m.

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, said: “This transaction marks a significant milestone in our sales finance strategy in the critical US market. First Investors has an outstanding financial and operational platform, underpinned by a strong management team, with vast experience in auto finance. Direct ownership of a finance company in the US is an opportunity which will allow us to provide our customers and dealers a complete range of financing options, including retail loans, leases, and floorplan financing in the near to medium term.”

The automaker plans to establish a US captive finance company to support its sales and fully capitalise on its strong market position while creating long term value for shareholders.

The acquisition allows it to create a platform from which to grow a full service captive finance organisation – it is the only major OEM currently operating in the US without such a finance company.

The transaction has significant potential for additional earnings generation and improving customer loyalty.

A captive US finance company will enhance the ownership experience and connectivity in the digital age for customers and provide future opportunities to enable emerging business strategies.

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Tommy Moore, president and CEO of First Investors, said: “We are excited to join the Stellantis team. Becoming part of Stellantis provides long-term stability for our company and employees. We believe that there are significant untapped growth opportunities for First Investors under Stellantis ownership as we expand our product suite to support their auto sales growth.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021, subject to the usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals.