Chrysler Financial's William Jones: "F&I manager No. 1 will raise a question. Sometimes our guys don't have to answer it. One of the other F&I managers will speak up: 'Oh, yeah, here's how you do such and such, and it really works.'"
The five-week program, called Speed2Succeed, wraps up this month. Chrysler Financial Vice President William Jones discussed the program with Staff Reporter Gail Kachadourian.
Where did the idea for these regional F&I sessions originate?
It's something that we borrowed from our truck organization. We've divided the country into eight regions. The (Chrysler Financial) business center directors are in each of the meetings.
Do dealers have to send people to Speed2Succeed sessions?
No, they're not required to do it. That's another thing that's particularly gratifying about this: Most of the dealers do send somebody. There are about 4,000 Chrysler dealerships overall, and we had over 2,000 attendees last year.
What is the goal of these sessions?
We hear from dealers and F&I managers how well we're doing our job, how well we're performing from a customer-service and satisfaction standpoint. We get a sense from them where they think the business is going.
What are some of the key topics discussed?
This year we focused on three overall themes: How well is the technology that we're employing doing the job for you in the stores? Second, are we doing the things necessary to bring customers back to Chrysler vehicles and to Chrysler Financial? And flexible financing - those customers who are a bit more challenged in their financing requirements or credit histories - how do we work together to make sure we can find a solution that meets their needs?
Describe Chrysler Financial's technology path.
Originating a contract traditionally has been very labor-intensive and prone to errors, as people have to capture the same information from page to page and document to document. With a (contract verification) process called AutOrigination, and its integration with dealers' in-house computer systems, we eliminate a lot of those errors because the information can be copied from one document to the next.
In so doing, we enhance customer satisfaction, because we can get the contracts approved and processed a lot quicker. We reduce the dealers' costs because we take out the errors and the resubmission of contracts. We've got that in the majority of our dealerships.
There's also Route One, which is our credit aggregation system. It allows dealers to send their customers' applications to the sources that they prefer, utilizing their in-house system.
Describe the interaction between the session attendees.
The F&I managers wind up learning from each other. F&I manager No. 1 will raise a question. Sometimes our guys don't have to answer it. One of the other F&I managers will speak up: "Oh, yeah, here's how you do such and such, and it really works."
What do dealers say about flexible financing?
They recognize we can't buy every deal. They just want clarity as to why we make the decisions that we make.
What is Chrysler Financial's philosophy on subprime lending?
Every customer is a good customer, in the final analysis. Some are a bit more challenged from a credit standpoint. Some deals we absolutely won't be able to make work, but we've got some dedicated partners with a bit more expertise on the flexible financing side than ourselves. We don't want to routinely exclude anybody from being able to satisfy their transportation needs with our dealers.
You may e-mail Gail Kachadourian at [email protected]