We are a specialty finance company. Our primary business is to purchase and service retail automobile contracts originated primarily by franchised automobile dealers and select independent dealers in the United States in the sale of new and used automobiles, light trucks and passenger vans. Through our automobile contract purchases, we provide indirect financing to the customers of dealers who have limited credit histories or past credit problems, who we refer to as sub-prime customers. We serve as an alternative source of financing for dealers, facilitating sales to customers who otherwise might not be able to obtain financing from traditional sources, such as commercial banks, credit unions and the captive finance companies affiliated with major automobile manufacturers. In addition to purchasing installment purchase contracts directly from dealers, we have also acquired installment purchase contracts in four merger and acquisition transactions. We also offer financing directly to sub-prime consumers to facilitate their purchase of a new or used automobile, light truck or passenger van. In this report, we refer to all of such contracts and loans as "automobile contracts" and all such purchases or acquisitions as “originations” or “acquisitions”.
We were incorporated and began our operations in March 1991. We consist of Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. and subsidiaries (collectively, “we,” “us,” “CPS” or “the Company”). From inception through December 31, 2018, we have purchased a total of approximately $15.2 billion of automobile contracts from dealers. In addition, we acquired a total of approximately $822.3 million of automobile contracts in mergers and acquisitions in 2002, 2003, 2004 and, most recently in September 2011. Contract purchase volumes and managed portfolio levels for the five years ended December 31, 2018 are shown in the table below. Managed portfolio comprises both contracts we owned and those we were servicing for non-affiliates.
Copy History Contract Purchases and Outstanding Managed Portfolio $ in thousands Year Contracts Purchased in Period Managed Portfolio at Period End 2014 944,944 1,643,920 2015 1,060,538 2,031,136 2016 1,088,785 2,308,070 2017 859,069 2,333,530 2018 902,416 2,380,847