INDEPENDENT DEALERS NEED NEW ‘F&I MANAGER’
Sandy Not as Hard on Vehicles as Expected While the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) warned of the potential for fraud regarding vehicles affected by Hurricane Sandy, The Associated Press reported the dire predictions of hundreds of thousands of flood-damaged vehicles was way off the mark. According to insurance claim data reviewed by AP, about 38,000 claims have been received by five major insurance carriers in the area, far fewer than expected. Early estimates predicted the storm that hit the densely populated Northeast to result in more damaged cars than the 600,000 affected by Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. NADA senior analyst Larry Dixon said as many as 200,000 vehicles could end up scrapped because of the storm. But that apparently is not the case, said Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an insurance company group that monitors fraud and other trends. He said insurers watched by his group are logging far fewer claims than they did with Katrina. “It doesn’t translate to there’s going to be 2, 3, 400,000 cars out of this thing just because this is such a huge geographic storm,” he told AP. Even if there are fewer than expected, there are likely to be more flood-damaged vehicles on the market than normal, and many won’t be labeled as such when they are sold in the wholesale or retail markets. “Unscrupulous salvage operators and dealers often try to conceal from potential buyers the fact that vehicles have been damaged by a natural disaster,” NICB president and CEO Joe Wehrle said. After Katrina, NICB established VINCheck, a free service that allows individuals to check if a vehicle has ever been declared as salvage by one of NICB’s member insurance companies. VINCheck is available at www.nicb.org.
Having had the pleasure of serving automobile dealers for more than 50 years, we at Protective Asset Protection are committed to meeting the finance and insurance needs of our dealer customers. Like many readers of this magazine, we place great importance on industry studies to ensure we are on top of the latest market trends – and in particular, your needs. However, we recognize selling cars is more than numbers and charts. It’s a people business. We spend countless hours working to support dealers of all sizes and types. We’re in the car business and a lot of what we do still takes place with a meeting, a handshake, leadership and good in-store training. More than five decades of experience and doing business the old-fashioned way has positioned Protective to exceed the expectations of our dealer customers. In our goal to share proven dealer solutions, we turned to the largest audience – the growing group of independent auto dealers. We wanted to better understand what you really need to help further drive your F&I sales and profits. We asked many of you from across the county questions about your operations, current selling processes and the importance of F&I to your businesses. Your feedback was informative and insightful, and aligned with many of the current successful approaches we use today. Here is a snapshot of what we learned: When we inquired about the types of vehicles and service contracts being sold today, we learned the average vehicle sold is 3-7 years old with 50,000-100,000 miles on it. We discovered more than 65 percent of you sell vehicle service contracts in your dealership. When we inquired how Protective could better support you, we learned that ease of doing business is very important, followed by working with a company you can trust. On the technology front, 55 percent of you use or plan to use an electronic device such as an iPad® or a tablet device to educate your current and future consumers about F&I products. We found that in general, consumers still rely on good, quality education from you to learn about the value of a service contract and most consumers don’t have preconceived ideas about what that value really offers them. The study reinforces what Protective Asset Protection already does well: helping dealers make money selling F&I products. So what is the best way to help you be more productive, drive more revenue and increase customer retention within the F&I process? We think the answer is obvious – hire an F&I manager. No one said it was a simple solution. But an experienced F&I manager brings the knowledge and skills to provide customers with the best options and the true value of making an F&I purchase decision. Obviously, adding to your headcount is no small task, and we asked ourselves what we could do. So we decided to “fill” your F&I position for you. Okay, we didn’t hire an F&I manager for each independent dealer. Instead, we created “the manager.” By combining your critical F&I needs with our 50 years of experience, we built Protective’s Protection Plus Solution, designed exclusively for you. You might have guessed your new F&I manager is not actually a person but instead is an electronic sales presentation using an iPad, or a desktop/laptop-based solution. While our new strategy might not replace an experienced F&I manager’s know-how and sales ability, it does provide you a tool to increase service contract sales. With our new F&I solution, you have the ability to offer a vehicle service contract customized to the specific needs of your customer, all with easy-to-use technology designed to overcome objections and help close the sale. We want you to have the closest thing we could provide to an actual F&I manager. Protective’s Protection Plus vehicle service contract and supporting web/iPad app will provide you and your dealership with the next best thing. Protective Asset Protection looks forward to expanding our nationwide reach and working with independent dealers to introduce them to their new F&I manager. You can learn more about the technology and our goal to bring you innovative new ideas and profit-growth strategies by visiting www.newfandimanager.com.
BY RICK KURTZ
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT-DEALER SERVICES FOR PROTECTIVE ASSET PROTECTION HAS MORE THAN 23 YEARS OF INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE. PROTECTIVE ASSET PROTECTION PROVIDES F&I PRODUCTS FOCUSED ON ENHANCING PROFITABILITY AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 800-950-6060, EXT. 5755, EMAIL RICK.KURTZ@PROTECTIVE.COM OR VISIT PROTECTIVEASSETPROTECTION.COM.
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11/16/12 3:22 PM