E-contracting is doing a slow crawl instead of a fast run as it heads towards full and general usage at car dealerships, according to finance and insurance experts.

Slowing down full acceptance is that “a lot of dealers say solutions today do not handle all of their needs,” says Christopher Morris, senior director-F&I solution for the Reynolds and Reynolds Co.

A stumbling block: “Not enough lenders accept e-contracts,” Morris tells an F&I Management and Technology conference.

He says e-contracting is 18-24 months away from being business as usual. Brad Rogers of lending consortium Route One says it will probably be longer than that.

E-contracting benefits include eliminating mistakes and speeding up work, says Charles Robinson, F&I vice president for Asbury Automotive, a dealership chain.

“We do 120,000 deals a year and we'd like to streamline that,” Robinson says.

He adds: “It's necessary to move (toward e-contracting) at a faster rate than we've been going at. It is creating confusion.”

He says Asbury is “electronic with our own forms,” but not so with forms from lenders, state departments of motor vehicles and others.

“Our hope is to go totally electronic,” says Robinson. “We're ready for it. We depend on lenders, vendors and states to finish it off.”