DONNA HARRIS

Where’s the ‘I’ in F&I?

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News

Many dealers say they want to de-emphasize finance as a profit center and focus on selling insurance products. They also say they want to sell multiple products from a menu.

But an informal Automotive News poll of 164 dealerships suggests some stores aren’t practicing what dealers are preaching.

When dealerships were asked to identify the “best” profit center in their F&I office, service contracts came in first with 53 percent of the vote and finance came in second with 36 percent. Everything else was in the single-digits: maintenance contracts, 4.3 percent; tire and wheel, 2.4 percent; GAP, 1.8 percent; and other, 2.4 percent.

The results suggest that finance is still the top profit center for one out of three dealers. And you’d think that if dealerships were promoting more products than just service contracts, those other products would perform better.

There appears to be a pretty big gap between what dealers say they want and the actual results they’re getting in the F&I office.

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