About a decade ago, Royal Automotive Group in Tucson, Ariz., reworked the sales model at its Kia store so that a customer no longer needed to work with multiple people to buy a vehicle.
Dealership group managers noticed that a number of subprime deals were taking a long time to complete, lengthening the wait for all customers to get into the finance and insurance office to finish transactions, said Kevin Cravo, Royal Automotive's executive variable director. Group leaders, Cravo said, knew from survey data that the handoff to "the box" was a major pain point for customers.
"If you have one finance manager stuck on one subprime deal for two hours trying to hang that paper, it just clogged up the whole front of the house," he said.
What emerged from that single-store shift includes a groupwide buying center that works with all six of Royal's dealerships in Tucson, using hubs of employees housed at its Kia and Buick-GMC stores. Royal employs F&I managers only at its two Lexus stores, which also use the buying center.