2013 was a banner F&I year

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.

2013 was a great year for F&I, judging by the performance of the six big publicly traded new-car dealership groups.

As a group, the publics averaged $1,214 in F&I revenue per vehicle in the third quarter of 2013, the last quarter for which numbers are available. That was up from $1,154 a year earlier. The six largest public retailers, ranked by 2012 new-vehicle retail sales, are AutoNation Inc., Penske Automotive Group, Sonic Automotive Inc., Group 1 Automotive, Asbury Automotive Group and Lithia Motors Inc.

Asbury, AutoNation and Group 1 all notched quarterly records during 2013, with fourth-quarter results still to be announced. In the third quarter of 2009, during the downturn, the group of six averaged $938 in F&I revenue per vehicle.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau represents a coming storm to F&I departments in 2014. The CFPB is leaning on lenders to change dealer compensation, to avoid charges of discrimination.

But in terms of actual results, 2013 appears to have been a vintage year for finance and insurance.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com

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