Ford leads automakers in patents for first time

Ford received more patents this year than any other automaker, a first for the Blue Oval as it increases the technology in vehicles and dabbles in alternative forms of transportation.

Nissan to focus on cost, technology with emphasis on what it can control

Nissan, the Japanese automaker that's become symbolic of what it means to be a truly global manufacturer, has a simple plan to navigate an

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Ask happy customers to share their experience

Take advantage of positive feedback, suggests Rick Kurtz, senior vice president of distribution at Protective Asset Protection. “When a consumer has a positive experience, ask them to share it, not just with you, but with their friends,” he said. “Sharing the positive outcomes of purchasing an F&I product on social media or other online channels allows customers to better understand the value of the product from a source they trust.”

Credit unions improve dealer ties, grab share

Credit unions on CU Direct's auto lending network as a group have become the second largest auto financing source, knocking Ally Financial to the No. 3 spot, CU Direct said last week.

Ford Credit learns from closed shared-lease pilot

Ford Credit's shared-lease pilot program in Austin, Texas, has closed, CEO Joy Falotico told Automotive News. She said the captive will apply what it has learned from the pilot as it develops more experiments tailored to the so-called sharing economy.

Be strategic on menu offerings

Limit your F&I menu to five or six products that meet most of your customers’ needs to shorten presentations, suggests Steve Roennau of EFG Cos. Most menus include service contracts, GAP and a maintenance plan. But “think strategically on the other two to three products,” he said. “For example, if you sell luxury vehicles to high-end clientele, appearance protection packages might be the best fit to flush out your menu.”

Mobile leasing app expands its dealership reach

Mobile leasing app Honcker, officially launched mid-November, has signed more than 200 new-car dealerships in five states onto its leasing platform. The app enables consumers to strike a lease deal without entering a showroom.

AutoNation's move into branded F&I products brings profit payoff

CEO Mike Jackson credits AutoNation's consistent gains in F&I gross profit to its branded product line. AutoNation began selling private-label F&I products at its stores at the end of last year and online in the first quarter of 2016. Ninety percent of AutoNation customers choose AutoNation branded F&I products, Jackson said.

Give lease shoppers the specifics they ask for

If a prospect calls or emails for specific information on a lease, don’t avoid their questions, advises Jason Jewert, CDK Global’s manager of performance improvement consulting. “Provide them what they asked for,” he said, and “tell them honestly.” First give your dealership’s average terms, then tell them that if they want a specific answer, “We need your credit score.”

Subprime auto lenders tighten up

The latest data from Standard & Poor's confirm that subprime auto loans are becoming a little harder to get. The company said some subprime lenders have dialed back on originations, moved up the credit scale, or tightened restrictions on loan structures.

How Trump's election could limit the CFPB

Donald Trump's presidential win is expected to bring significant changes to the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau operates, the head of the American Financial Services Association says.

How Trump's election could limit the CFPB

The election of President Trump is expected to bring significant changes to the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau operates, the head of the American Financial Services Association said today.

For Calif., Texas stores, F&I moves online, saving time

Dealerships in California and Texas have reduced the time consumers spend in the F&I office since Drive Motors partnered with RouteOne and Dealertrack to enable customers to submit finance and credit data online. Behind the shift: Car buyers, especially millennials, want total transparency and a more convenient way to purchase.

Why short-time owners should try leasing

As the economy strengthens, more consumers are trading in their vehicles mid-loan to purchase a new one, despite carrying negative equity, Edmunds.com says. For some of those short-time owners, leasing may be a better option.

New credit evaluation tool aims to help lenders tailor offerings

The major credit bureaus over the past few years have come up with ways to measure the creditworthiness of customers beyond evaluating their credit scores. Extended Trade, a product within Experian's Credit3D suite of risk management tools, features 18 new data points that track additional consumer behavior to help lenders cater to current and potential customers.

Revise your outlook on objections

When confronting customers' objections, think of it like this, advises Rick McCormick, national account development manager for Reahard & Associates: “It's not a battle that needs to be won, but it's a customer that needs to be helped.”

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