Chrysler in Talks With Banco Santander to Be Main Leader image

Chrysler is in talks with Spanish Banco Santander to make its U.S. unit the automaker’s preferred financing provider.

Chrysler and Santander have begun a 30-day negotiation period to make the Spanish bank its main partner for financing with customers and dealers. In September, Chrysler and Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Santander Holdings USA and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are possible financing partners for the US automaker. Chrysler said that it will let the agreement with Ally Financial expire in April 2013.

“You need to know that your lender of choice is going to be available and willing to make the loans necessary to move product,” said analyst Alec Gutierrez. “The question will be, is this lender still going to be willing to carry over a lot of the aggressive programs that Ally was running?”

Under the agreement with Chrysler, Ally Financial has been offering this year competitive lease deals and zero-percent financing on vehicles including the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan. Chrysler is the third US automaker after GM and Ford, generating more than $25 billion in auto loans each year.

“Some of those lease offers out there are really pretty killer, and you have to assume that they’re moving quite a bit of volume in that segment with those offers,” said Alec Gutierrez.