TO THE EDITOR:
The Automotive Hall of Fame was founded in 1939 by the “Automobile Old Timers” to perpetuate memories of early pioneers. But the scope for potential inductees has expanded to include significant contributors from across the automotive spectrum. As such, Pat Ryan warrants consideration.
Ryan’s 1962 installation of an autonomous, task-specific finance and insurance department at Dick Fencl Chevrolet in suburban Chicago forever changed dealership operations. While the processes and products were evolutionary, the dollars derived from them were exponential.
F&I became the primary responsibility of a dedicated, well-trained manager. A process that dramatically increased the odds of the customer saying “yes” lifted not only sales volume, but dealer revenue.
The introduction of credit insurance products ensured that an aggrieved spouse owned the family car free and clear and an injured construction worker didn’t lose the vehicle for nonpayment. Vehicle service contracts and guaranteed asset protection shielded car buyers from mechanical failures and payoff discrepancies and added another source of dealer income.
An often overlooked component when weighing accomplishments is the means used to achieve the results. In this area, Ryan is the consummate professional.
In Wisconsin in the early 1970s, it appeared that every car dealer in the state had graduated from high school with Ryan. His firm’s field operatives were reflective of the man in charge: professional, honest and aggressive.
As the inaugural contributor to the greater good of vehicle sales and funding processes, Ryan is a worthy candidate for the Hall of Fame.
DAVE ROBERTSON, Executive director, Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals, Colleyville, Texas