Uber, Santander partnership on car loans is over

Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:57pm EDT
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By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A partnership between Uber Technologies and Banco Santander SA's (SAN.MC: Quote) U.S. auto loan unit is over, Uber told Reuters, removing one of the country's most prominent car lenders from a program trumpeted by the app-based ride service.

Uber launched a program in November 2013 to link prospective drivers who do not have a car with manufacturers and lenders, in the hopes it would boost the number of cars on the road for the app-based service.

The deal received widespread press attention at the time, and Uber said it hoped to finance 100,000 drivers.

Uber partnered with multiple lenders including Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc (SC.N: Quote) and Exeter Finance, which is owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N: Quote).

It could not be determined why Uber's deal with Santander ended.

"We are no longer working with Santander Consumer USA but continue to facilitate a variety of other vehicle financing options and auto manufacturer discounts for driver-partners," a spokesperson at Uber told Reuters on Wednesday.

Spokespeople at Santander and Exeter declined to comment.

Uber operates in 57 countries with an estimated value of more than $40 billion. It had a total of about 162,000 active U.S. drivers in December 2014, according to the company.   Continued...

The Uber logo is seen on a vehicle near Union Square in San Francisco, California May 7, 2015.    REUTERS/Robert Galbraith