YOUNG BUYERS HATE F&I - According to J.D. Power and Associates, buyers under 35 spend more time and effort preparing to buy a vehicle than any other age group, but after they hit the F&I department, they are the least-satisfied group of all new-vehicle buyers.
'Young buyers may successfully negotiate the price of the vehicle, but by the time they get to the hassle over credit, they're shelling out money for such things as extended warranties or credit life insurance. Often they are induced to purchase these products with the promise of credit approval,' the Agoura Hills, Calif., consulting firm said in a November newsletter. 'The experience creates customers who are more critical of the process, who complain more about high-pressure tactics and are more likely to question the honesty and integrity of the F&I person.'
NEW MERCURY CEO - Lake Forest, Ill., subprime lender Mercury Finance Co. named Edward Harshfield, former CEO of California Federal Bank, as its permanent CEO. Mercury is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy after disclosing in early 1997 that it had overstated its 1996 earnings. Turnaround specialist Bill Brandt has been its acting CEO.
NEW PRESIDENT FOR LESSORS - The Association of Consumer Vehicle Lessors, in Larkspur, Calif., announced that its new president is James Burzotta, president of PNC Dealer Finance Corp., an arm of Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank Corp. The group's 25 members - mostly big banks and captive finance companies - account for approximately 80 percent of all consumer vehicle leases in the United States. Founded in 1993, the group advocates better disclosure on lease contracts and proposes model state lease laws. Burzotta succeeds Tony Langan, senior vice president of Chase Auto Finance Corp., who had a one-year term.
FIRST INVEST-ORS DROPS -Net income fell 27 percent to $388,878 for subprime auto lender First Investors Financial Service for the second fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31. However, compared to a year ago, the Houston-based company's loan portfolio was up 26 percent to $156 million, and delinquencies were down to 2.6 percent, vs. 3.9 percent, according to CEO Tommy Moore Jr. Loan originations were up 79 percent for the quarter, he said.