Houston-based GSFSGroup is a sister company to Gulf States Toyota, an independent distributor of Toyota vehicles to dealers in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
Special Correspondent Jim Henry spoke with Cooper, appointed Feb. 20, about his plans.
What's on your agenda?
The first thing we want to do is to make sure we're known nationally. And the way you make yourself known is through word-of-mouth and also through advertising.
Second is to make sure we have market-relevant products.
Third, we want to make sure we're providing the right income development. We want to place some horsepower in the dealership to work with them to make more money and to stay fully compliant -- really getting into the trenches with agents, rolling up our sleeves.
Are you looking to get into more markets and sign up more dealers or are you looking to do more business with the agents and dealers you already have?
It is all of the above. The first thing is to look at the agents we already have and make sure we are providing them with everything we have available. Next we want to add additional agents. That will allow us to get into some new markets and to fill in some wide-open spaces.
The best way to say it is we've established a national footprint. What we want to do now is develop it.
Are you working on bundling or packaging F&I products?
We are working on that right now. We are working behind the scenes on that. One thing about this company besides stability and sticking to their core values: They are very innovative. At the same time, they are not overly aggressive putting something out on the street before it's fully studied and developed.
What kind of agents are you looking for?
The key thing the agent delivers is dealer relationships. Our intent is to partner with agents who have good, solid relationships with dealers.
Do you offer reinsurance?
Yes, we definitely offer what we call participation programs. We are one of the few that offer all the main ways those programs can be structured.
It's not a new concept, is it?
The company is a lot more aggressive in promoting it.
So it's something you're looking to do more of.
That is definitely a growth area. We encourage dealers to strongly and actively participate. A lot of dealers don't offer it or they are very limited in what they were offering. With all five structures, there is something available for just about all dealers. Depending on their wealth strategy or their operational strategy, they may want to generate immediate cash flow, or they may be after the creation of long-term wealth.