Trump's trade czar Ross easily wins Senate confirmation

Longtime auto supplier executive Wilbur Ross easily won confirmation as U.S. commerce secretary, clearing President Trump's top trade official to work on renegotiating trade relationships.

Tesla shares slump after Goldman downgrade
UPDATED: 2/27/17 4:15 pm - adds closing share price

Tesla shares fell more than 4 percent on Monday after Goldman Sachs turned negative on the stock and cast doubt on CEO Elon Musk's ability to deliver

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Q4 F&I results improve at 5 of 6 publics

Group 1, AutoNation, Asbury, Sonic and Lithia posted improved F&I results in the fourth quarter, although the retailers gave mixed views this month on whether growth will continue. Penske slipped a bit but will continue to focus on F&I training, the company said.

Early F&I intros speed deals, enable tailored menus

Introduce F&I early in the sales process to speed up the transaction, suggests John Stephens of EFG Cos. F&I managers will be able not only to submit the credit application while the customer is still with the salesperson but also to tailor presentations “based on individual customer needs, reducing objections and increasing product penetration,” he said.

New delinquent U.S. car loans at 8-year peak

More Americans fell behind on their car loan payments in the fourth quarter, bringing auto delinquencies to their highest since the height of the financial crisis, Federal Reserve Bank of New York data released on Thursday showed.

Helping subprime customers fosters loyalty

Train sales and F&I staff to help subprime consumers get into the right car with the right financing arrangement, advises Brien Joyce of EFG Cos. Many subprime consumers “are essentially good people who’ve fallen on hard times,” he said. “After they pick themselves back up, they will remember how they were treated when they were struggling, and they will be that much more loyal to the companies who treated them well.”

Used-car leasing fails to meet expectations

In spring 2016, the idea of used leasing buzzed around the National Automobile Dealers Association convention and the American Financial Services Association Vehicle Finance Conference in Las Vegas. Nearly a year later, used leasing is still only a sliver of the market.

VIDEO: Overcoming compliance fears

Many dealers are afraid of making compliance a priority, and that fear could be getting in the way of better performing F&I managers, according to Greg Kostern, business operations director at Johnson Automotive.

Thoughts on leasing from dealer council chairs

Ahead of January's National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans, Automotive News interviewed 25 dealer council chairs, or dealers holding the equivalent position, representing 31 brands. Here's a roundup of what some of them said about the outlook for leasing at their brand in 2017.

F&I sales are tougher without common ground

When a customer objects to buying an important F&I product, find common ground, suggests Rick McCormick of Reahard & Associates. “You can’t sell anything to anybody when you disagree,” he says. “When a customer knows you can relate to how they feel, they will listen to what you’re talking about.”

Why Audi's Keogh keeps leasing in check

Leasing accounts for a majority of Audi's sales in the U.S., but Audi of America President Scott Keogh says he wouldn't want the brand to get to a point where captive finance leasing dominates Audi's book of business.

Showroom intros, videos plant the F&I product seed

With squeezed new-vehicle margins, many dealers are relying on F&I for profit, but customers are often skeptical of F&I products. By introducing F&I products on the showroom floor or in videos, dealers can educate customers on product value before they step into the F&I office.

F&I masters employ emotion

In F&I, use emotion, then logic, suggests Rick McCormick of Reahard & Associates. "The only people that master the F&I craft are the people who use emotion at a very high level. Logic is only used to wrap up the sale," he said.

AutoGravity expands financing app, websites to 46 states

Car buyers across the country can now select a vehicle and financing offer through AutoGravity's mobile app and web platform. Consumers in 46 states will be able to access up to four financing offers through the company's smartphone app, website or partnering dealership websites. AutoGravity is working to obtain licenses in the remaining states of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Dakota.

Robust leasing starts with employee training

To boost lease profit, train employees regularly on the benefits of leasing vs. buying, suggests Todd Cooper, vice president of training services for EFG Cos. Employees need to learn to explain the value of leasing based on the customer's driving and buying habits.