Ken Garff Automotive Group of Salt Lake City is expanding. Garff Automotive, already the 11th-largest U.S. dealership group, added six stores this year and plans to add four next year.
But at the same time, it is cutting back on the number of lenders it uses to finance its customers' loans.
The group is culling the number of lenders to about 20, down from 68 in 2012, says Danny Cox, the group's F&I director. He says it will be easier and more efficient for Garff Automotive to work with a smaller number of bank representatives.
Garff Automotive is addressing a question facing dealerships across the country: How many retail lenders should a dealership have?
The issue is complicated by memories of the recession, when many dealerships found themselves abandoned by longtime financing partners. Some dealers today believe they should have strong, close ties to a handful of lenders, while others prefer to spread their business around in the hope that they always will have lenders available no matter what the future brings.