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Auto maker Stellantis will fill gap by buying a finance arm

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Automaker Stellantis NV, which was formed earlier this year by a merger involving Fiat Chrysler, said Wednesday it will pay $285 million for an auto-finance company to provide loans and leases to customers through its dealers.

Netherlands-based Stellantis said it will pay cash to acquire F1 Holdings Corp., the parent of Houston-based auto-finance firm First Investors Financial Services Group. The deal is expected to close by year end.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said owning a finance company in the U.S. will let the automaker provide customers and dealers options including loans, leases, and “floorplan” or inventory financing that is common in the car-dealership business.

Stellantis said it is the only major car maker operating in the U.S. without its own auto-finance company.

Stellantis was formed this year by a merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot. They figured that combining would help them compete with larger rivals Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan as the auto industry goes through enormous technological changes including a shift toward electric and vehicles with more automation.

Besides Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat, its other brands include Jeep, Peugeot and Alfa Romeo.

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