F&I survey gives all dealerships a voice

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

It’s March. Time to work on tax returns -- and the annual U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power.

J.D. Power says the surveys should start arriving at dealerships this week. They’re aimed at dealer principals, but in practice, general managers and F&I managers usually fill them out, J.D. Power says.

The survey’s five major parts are: application and approval process; finance provider offering, that is, rates, terms, advance and flexibility of buying policy; sales representative relationships; floorplan; and for leases, the vehicle return process and related issues.

Last year’s survey had 3,064 responses. That’s more than enough for statistically significant results. But there could have been way more, considering how important F&I is to dealerships and that J.D. Power sends a survey to every franchised dealership.

According to annual dealership census data compiled by Automotive News, on Jan. 1, 2013, there were 17,760 U.S. light-vehicle dealerships.

Potentially, that’s a lot of opinions.