The Vehicle Personalization beast is growing—and it needs more room. Your showroom isn’t big enough to contain the accessory sales mammoth anymore. Personalization is stretching its limbs into F&I, and your finance manager ought to receive Godzilla with open arms. While it’s a widely known fact that accessorizing vehicles at the point of sale benefits your bottom line and your customer, the benefit to all departments is less commonly agreed upon. There’s a misconception when it comes to F&I.
Best F&I Practices
To plainly debunk the myth, finance departments can (and do) benefit from accessory sales. Dealerships must understand that customers who purchase accessories do not affect the ability to sell service contracts or extended warranties—and here’s why:
Mindset is everything | Customers are willing to buy F&I products when there’s a sense of attachment to their new vehicle. A personalized vehicle, providing that attachment, has a much better chance of withstanding the 3-4 year trade-in cycle in comparison to its non-accessorized counterpart. The “back-end” F&I products like theft recovery, maintenance programs, and GAP insurance that maximize gross become even more attractive. Customers fully engaged in their new purchase—a vehicle suited to fit their lifestyle—see the value in protecting their investment.
Banks are playing ball | Many banks today will grant their customers front-end and back-end room to maximize a dealer’s profitability. Though subject to variation based on credit ranking and the financial institution, F&I will reap the benefit of rolling accessory sales into the monthly payment plan. More banks today will pay higher reserves and flats to the F&I Department depending on the amount being financed. This means that F&I Departments are even more likely to add gross to their back-end by financing vehicle accessories.
Used Car F&I is included | Banks are very competitive with rates and advances today. Though retail rates vary with the market, one thing is consistent: most financial institutions today will provide special rates and advances on used and certified pre-owned vehicles. This means used car F&I is in the same game as your new car showroom with front-end and back-end advances motivating customers to personalize and protect.
As the old saying goes, one good decision leads to another—and this rings true with your customer’s buying habits. Personalizing in the showroom at the point of sale is in every department’s favor—especially F&I.