He added: “We’ve had great customer satisfaction success. Customers prefer having all buying options presented upfront rather than negotiating a price for a car and then coming out [of an F&I office] owing $50 more per month because of extended warranties, GAP insurance or maintenance agreements. There are no surprises along the way.”
The purchase advisers’ one-on-one work with customers frees time for the F&I managers to negotiate with lenders and complete all necessary paperwork. Hughes noted the dealership has the fewest finance contracts in transit and the fastest funding among the 28 stores making up Findlay Automotive Group, of which Subaru Las Vegas is a member.
“We average a 30 percent reduction in the typical ‘days to fund’ than other high-volume retailers in our automotive group, Hughes said. “I believe this is a byproduct of the finance work load being spread out to multiple officers managing their own contracts and communication with the banks and credit unions versus one finance director/manager trying to chase the funding for a majority of the transactions of the dealership.”
CarMax, Apple influence
Hughes designed Subaru Las Vegas’ noncommission sales system and F&I process based on reading what some auto giants, including CarMax -- from which several of his employees hailed -- do to increase sales and customer satisfaction. He also “took notice of the Apple Store way of providing excellent and informative customer service and the relaxed vibe of the Starbucks culture,” he said.
He calls the changes made at Subaru of Las Vegas a “revolution.” But he notes that other auto retailers are latching onto the notion of a noncommission operation, too.
“We do have a unique store here,” Hughes said. “But we are not alone. Many dealerships are starting to transition away from commissioned sales and F&I as a way to improve the customer experience.”