Keep sales and F&I separate

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To the Editor:

This is in response to "Showroom showdown: Should sales staffers initiate F&I? Why some experts say it doesn't work," Dec. 9.

I have been involved with F&I since 1979. I remember when salespeople had a factory ordering guide with pages in the back to figure out payments so they could handwrite a loan contract. Utter chaos! They were almost never right. Math errors, write-overs, scratch-outs.

Then came computers and more state and federal regulations and, of course, more paperwork.

It makes so much more sense to teach one person (or a team of people depending on the size of the dealership) all the laws and hold that person responsible for accurate and correct paperwork than to have 15 or more people all doing things differently.

The liability for a dealership having an untrained person handling legal documents and proper disclosure has to be off the charts.

As Holmes Automotive Group's Loe Hornbuckle said in the story, salespeople are motivated to sell and "will throw in everything but the kitchen sink to get the deal closed." Chances of an F&I profit are slim, and chances of misrepresentation are high.

But more important than product sales: Who configures the deals to be sent to lenders? Who books the value of the car? Who will renegotiate the loan decision from the lenders?

Unless you have a staff of well-trained, well-paid, highly ethical sales managers working the floor, salespeople doing F&I is suicide.


St. Louis

The writer is a consultant and specializes in F&I.

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