The six largest publicly traded new-vehicle retail groups nearly all improved in F&I revenues per vehicle retailed in the first quarter, led by Group 1 Automotive Inc. and AutoNation Inc., which both topped $1,500 for the quarter.
On Tuesday, Group 1, of Houston, reported an all-time record average of $1,538, up 5.5 percent from the year-earlier period. Group 1 beat its own previous high of $1,521 set in the fourth quarter of 2014.
“We have increased our penetration rates in the last few years,” said Pete DeLongchamps, vice president of manufacturer relations, financial services and public affairs at Group 1.
The company said its first quarter U.S. sales penetration rates increased for extended service contracts, to 42 percent from 40 percent a year earlier; for guaranteed asset protection policies, to 28 percent from 25 percent; and for exterior paint sealant, to 19 percent from 17 percent.
Dealership financing, at 72 percent, and prepaid maintenance, at 10 percent, were flat compared with the year-earlier quarter, Group 1 reported.
“At the end of the day it’s just been about training and execution at the dealership level,” DeLongchamps said during the company’s conference call. “The compliance that we have and audit procedures we have in place have helped grow the business.”
Also on Tuesday, Penske Automotive Group, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., reported its average F&I revenue per vehicle retailed was flat at $1,100 on a same-store basis.
Without providing specific dollar amounts, the company said F&I revenue per vehicle was up 5 percent in the U.S. and down 10 percent overseas.
U.S. operations accounted for 60 percent of total company revenues for Penske Automotive for the quarter.
AutoNation reported its highest ever average: $1,515 for the first quarter, up 8.1 percent from the year-earlier period. For the quarter, that was the biggest year-over-year percent improvement for the group. AutoNation, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., reported its first-quarter results on April 22.
CEO Mike Jackson said during AutoNation’s conference call the group sees “steady growth opportunities” in F&I.
AutoNation is increasing F&I training, using technology to speed up transactions, leaning on the bottom 25 percent of AutoNation stores to improve, and emphasizing F&I product sales, the company said.
Asbury Automotive Group, of Duluth, Ga., reported its average F&I revenue per vehicle was $1,365 for the first quarter, up 2.6 percent.
Sonic Automotive Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., said its first-quarter average was $1,260, up 4.2 percent.
Lithia Motors Inc., of Medford, Ore., reported on April 22 its average F&I revenue per vehicle was up 4.4 percent for the quarter, to $1,233. CEO Bryan DeBoer said sales penetration improved for arranging financing, for extended-service contracts and for lifetime oil changes.