Tesla's board looking for executive talent, not COO, report says

Tesla's board s on the lookout for senior talent -- though it’s not actively searching for a COO, a person familiar with the board’s thinking told Bloomberg.

Cox aims for more cohesive brand

So far, CEO Sandy Schwartz grades the company's integration of more than a dozen unique brands as a B-minus.

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Language matters

Use language that's natural to the consumer, says F&I trainer Gerry Gould. Customers interpret “pays for” much better than “covers” or “protects.” Rather than saying, “It protects or covers against dings and dents,” for example, say, “It will pay for the repair or replacement when someone accidentally puts a ding or a dent on your vehicle.”

5 public groups raise F&I profit per vehicle

Five of the six public new-vehicle dealership groups improved average F&I gross profit per vehicle in the second quarter, driven primarily by F&I training efforts, growing F&I product penetration and increased retail sales.

Prequalify customers to earn their trust

Consumers want to know before they get to the showroom what incentives they qualify for, says John Giamalvo of Equifax. Reach out to customers shopping on your dealership's website about checking their credit score, or prequalifying them for financing. “As far as credit transparency, dealers can distinguish themselves in the marketplace by garnering trust from the consumers by giving that consumer transparency.”

Consistency: The keeper of compliance

To ensure your store is compliant, keep F&I product discounts consistent, suggests Deanna Stockamp of the Stockamp and Brown law firm. “There's nothing wrong with offering a discount because a customer purchased more than one product or a bundle of products," she said, "so long as you're offering those discounts to all of your customers."

To remedy negative F&I reviews, call the customer

Managing negative reviews is vital to maintaining a dealership's reputation, and the F&I office needs to be especially vigilant, given how difficult it is to resolve an issue once a deal has been closed, experts say.

U.S. auto tariffs could create hurdle for subprime shoppers

If President Trump decides to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles, cost-sensitive subprime borrowers are the most likely to get squeezed out of the new-car market, spelling trouble for the likes of the Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra, Cox Automotive says.

Retire oversimplified closes

Avoid phrases such as "pennies a day" or "a few dollars a month” that fail to inform customers of the true product cost, suggests F&I trainer Chari Fogel. “With all due respect, those are tired, old closes,” Fogel said. “It is extremely important for the F&I person to answer the customer directly when the customers ask how much this costs.”

Industry trends could reshape F&I

F&I has been a dealership profit center for decades but industry trends such as subscription services, online shopping and electric vehicles could prompt dealerships to restructure the role.

Help customers do the math

Part of an F&I manager's job is to be a calculator for customers, says Adam Marburger of Suntrup Automotive Group. Cash or finance customers turn down a service contract when "they don't know how to do the math." Walking customers through savings is important not just for product sales, Marburger said, but "because the car is worth so much more with the service contract."

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