A desire for emergency roadside services and the consideration of vehicle technology were most likely to prompt customers to purchase auto finance and insurance products, a Protective Asset Protection dealer survey released this week found.
"Our second F&I report will help dealers as they strategize how best to position F&I products in front of customers and new ways they look to shop for a vehicle, as well as a new breed of customers with more spending power today," Protective Asset Protection Senior Vice President Rick Kurtz said in a statement Monday.
The 2021 survey found 44 percent of dealers said roadside service was a primary reason customers bought F&I coverage. Forty percent of dealers said consumers were prompted by "technology features," according to the F&I trainer and product provider.
Electrical components and secondary mechanical parts such as air conditioning tied for third, with 35 percent of dealers calling those variables important contributors to customer F&I purchases. Protective Asset Protection hypothesized that the impact of secondary mechanical systems was "most likely an indication of more used vehicles sold today."
Major mechanical components ranked fifth, with 31 percent of dealers mentioning it as a key driver.
The 2021 results demonstrated similar customer priorities as in the last survey, in 2019 — with the exception of roadside services, which shot up 11 percentage points and went from No. 3 to the No. 1 customer consideration. Meanwhile, maintaining the vehicle's appearance fell by almost double digits in importance, with just 19 percent of dealers reporting it as a factor in F&I purchases in 2021 compared with 27 percent in 2019.
In presenting the 2021 results, Protective Asset Protection also mentioned that vehicle service contracts and guaranteed asset protection insurance were two of the most popular F&I products.
"Pandemic or not, customers will always give significant consideration to these protection products for their vehicle," the company wrote in its report.
But despite GAP's popularity among consumers, the study also found the purpose of that coverage hardly resonated with the customers.
"Protection against costs of a total loss accident" was viewed as a primary customer consideration by only 9 percent of dealers in 2021. In 2019, just 5 percent of dealers noticed customers buying F&I products for this reason.