Maruti Suzuki India Ltd on Tuesday announced the launch its digital platform, Smart Finance, to provide vehicle finance related services and information to its prospective customers. The new platform will include offers for vehicle loans from different banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and will be restricted to customers of Nexa, its premium dealerships in 30 cities.After the announcement of the lockdown measures in March, auto companies increased their efforts to use digital platforms to reach the customers. The new platform is an indication of a strategic shift in Maruti’s vehicle retail process where in the company plans to offer vehicle finance related information to its customers through its digital platform Smart Finance. Customers can also apply for loans through the website.As of now, Maruti is the only vehicle manufacturer to come up with a platform dedicated to vehicle finance.“Maruti Suzuki Smart Finance will offer comprehensive finance solution online. It aims to simplify and digitalise the customer’s car buying journey with a bouquet of financing options. Undeterred by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company continues to invest in new technologies and systems to simplify the car buying journey,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.In the next few months Maruti will also allow its customers from the Arena showrooms, which sells comparatively cheaper cars, to avail the facilities on the Smart Finance platform. It will also start targeting non-salaried buyers though the platform as well.According to Shashank Srivastava, executive director, sales and marketing, Maruti Suzuki, vehicle finance is one area for which the customers still have to move out of the company’s existing digital platforms and with the introduction of the new platform enquiry to sales conversion is likely to improve.“This platform will provide convenience to the customers since they will not have to check with every bank about the vehicle loans on offer. The dealers may offer limited options depending on the tie up with the banks, while other banks may offer better options. All this information will be available on this platform,” added Srivastava.Maruti Suzuki has currently partnered with eight financiers, HDFC Bank, Yes Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Cholamandalam Finance, AU Small Finance Bank, Mahindra Finance and Kotak Mahindra Prime. Subsequently, the company will include other banks and NBFCs as well.