The Feb. 28 article on Pat Ryan ("Leader's legacy") was a delight for me to read as it brought back so many memories of starting an F&I department.
I was introduced to the concept of a separate F&I department in a 20 Group meeting in 1973.
At first, I thought it was only for large metro dealers and wouldn't work in a store our size, but a few dealers convinced me to hire a trained specialist and demand 100 percent turnover of each customer to the specialist.
Our salespeople hated that, fearing that he would cut their gross to sell his products. They fought it hard until they got their first, separate F&I commission checks.
Their commissions on F&I went up tenfold, and they closed more deals, just as we had been told would happen. Our F&I income improved dramatically, and so did our profits. Soon every dealer in the 20 Group had an F&I manager.
We fine-tuned F&I in later years and reached new profit highs with the help of Jim Ziegler and others. In each of the three 20 Groups I was in during my career, we all soon realized that without F&I, it is rare for a domestic dealership to make a profit in the new-car department. I believe that is still true today.
Thank you, Pat Ryan, for your vision, your training, for bringing integrity to F&I and for introducing many of us dealers to reinsurance.
Enjoy your retirement. You've earned it.