Many consumers are skipping dealers' new-vehicle showrooms in favor of their used-car lots. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, franchised dealerships sold 8,704,716 used vehicles through July this year.
But the popularity of used cars shouldn't leave F&I managers scrambling to revamp their sales approach to appeal to those used buyers, industry insiders say.
Whether a customer is buying a new vehicle or used, F&I managers' strategy should be the same: Zero in on the customer's personal needs and offer the products that meet them. For used-vehicle customers, that includes explaining what parts of the vehicle may still be under warranty to give them the opportunity to extend that coverage or add to it.
Dwayne Wiggins, F&I University trainer at American Financial & Automotive Services, refers to the strategy as prioritizing the customer's "hot buttons." Whether selling a new car or used, he said, "find out what's important to the customer, and that's what you talk about."
Rick Kurtz, senior vice president for distribution at F&I provider Protective Asset Protection, summed up the strategy along similar lines. "Everything has to be tailored to the consumer's individual needs and the motivation for the purchase of that vehicle," he said.