IRVING, Texas -

Exeter Finance is in a celebratory mood and rightfully so. The non-prime auto finance company now has originated contracts with 1 million customers since it was founded in 2006.

To commemorate this milestone, Exeter identified its 1-millionth customer as Raul Trevino Jr. of Ennis, Texas, and awarded him a $10,000 cash prize and the vehicle he purchased this month at Toyota of Dallas and financed with Exeter free of charge.

“Exeter will celebrate its 15th anniversary later this year, and I am incredibly proud of the work our team has done helping customers purchase the vehicles they need,” Exeter Finance chief executive officer Jason Grubb said in a news release distributed this week.

“When we learned we would hit the 1-million-mark sometime in January, we decided to kick-off 2021 by awarding that customer the vehicle they had just purchased,” Grubb continued.

Exeter determined Trevino was that special customer on Jan. 15.

The company then arranged to waive all of his payments for the 2018 Toyota Camry and give him $10,000 to help pay for the taxes — effectively giving him a free car.

Exeter president and chief operating officer Brad Martin officially presented the vehicle to Trevino during a brief ceremony at Toyota of Dallas a few days after the purchase and financing were complete.

“Working with thousands of auto dealers nationwide, our mission is to make vehicle ownership possible for everyone,” Martin said. “It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Trevino and his family, learn how Exeter was able to help them and announce we were going to pay for their car. We are pleased to be able to do something special for an incredibly deserving family.”

After he received the car and cash prize from Exeter, Trevino said, “I didn’t know what to do when they said I had won. I was in shock! It was my first time to win something in my life. I feel very happy and am grateful to Exeter.”

Martin also appreciated Toyota of Dallas for its cooperation in hosting the celebration and for its strong, ongoing partnership with Exeter.

Toyota of Dallas managing partner Darren Dortch said the dealership was happy to take part.

“Exeter is a great partner for us. For them to pick a customer and actually give a car away to the 1-millionth customer was amazing. It was incredible for us to be a part of it,” Dortch said.

Exeter also recorded the festivities on video, which can be viewed on this website.