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DONNA HARRIS

The right name can lend prestige

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News
Gary Allgeier, finance director for the Suburban Collection, of suburban Detroit, is purging the dealership group of vocabulary he thinks gives the industry a bad name. He believes improved titles will command respect from customers and make employees feel better about their jobs.

Gone are terms like “F&I,” “F&I box,” and “F&I managers.” He believes those terms are old school. Instead, he’s in charge of Suburban’s “financial services managers” who are manning the “finance offices” or “financial services offices.”

Dealership employees must pay Allgeier a dollar as a penalty for every time they refer to some of the protective vehicle coatings they sell as “rust and dust,” “mop and glow,” or “paint and fab.” He thinks dealerships that use such slang can’t expect to be taken seriously.

And as a consumer, I cringe at the thought of being called an “up.”

Allgeier makes a valid point. The industry could stand to rethink some of its vocabulary.

I mean, which would you rather be: An F&I guy who sells rust and dust or a financial services manager who sells vehicle appearance enhancement?

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