Is the extra mile in F&I service an unrealistic stretch?

In Automotive News this week, we feature dealerships that go the extra mile to ensure that car buyers who have economic or life challenges come away with the best solution for their needs.

The stores’ F&I managers accomplish this in part through personal relationships, using alternative data to champion customers’ creditworthiness to lenders and by providing customers financial counseling.

But F&I consultant George Angus of Team One Group says that for some F&I managers, providing that level of service is impractical for several reasons:

  • The salesman starts the deal. If the salesman sells the customer on a vehicle, “the F&I manager is not going to jump in and blow up that deal,” Angus says. “Customers are going to buy what they want to buy. [F&I managers] can explain the pros and cons, but ultimately, it’s up to the customer.”
  • There’s not enough time. Getting through a full transaction can take hours, and if the F&I manager has a long line of customers, it would be difficult to take extra time with some customers.
  • F&I managers have other roles. F&I managers sometimes have other roles in the dealership, which can also mean they don’t have extra time to dedicate to individual customers. In a smaller operation, in particular, the F&I manager often takes on an additional job.
  • Many work on commission. And when that’s the case, “it’s hard to get people to do stuff for free,” Angus says.
You can reach Hannah Lutz at hlutz@crain.com -- Follow Hannah on Twitter: @hm_lutz

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