With the pent-up demand and looser credit standards, customers have been flocking to dealership lots over the past year and a half. While that trend is expected to continue, dealerships have also seen a much more demanding consumer walk onto their lots. Since the recession, consumers have a tighter hold on their wallet and expect more value for their dollar.
Now, compound their hesitation with the widespread recalls and reports of vehicle failures hitting the news. Not only are customers more concerned with the level of service and value they receive from the dealership, but also with the dependability of available new model inventory.
According to the 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study from J.D. Power and Associates, for the first time in 15 years, owners of three-year-old vehicles reported more problems than did owners of three-year-old vehicles in the previous year. They attributed this drop in dependability to an increase in engine and transmission problems, particularly on 4 cylinder vehicles.
With vehicle dependability called into question, along with many high profile news stories around the OEMs and recalls, you can bet consumers are going to be even more circumspect when it comes to purchasing their next vehicle. Your dealership partners need a strategy to incentivize potential customers to purchase from them. Keeping in mind that retail sales volume has a significant impact on your loan volumes, think about this statistic from the J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable – today’s car shoppers visit only 1.1 dealerships before making a purchasing decision, which is down from visiting three dealerships just five years ago.
Now think about how many of your dealerships partners are the ones with which consumers choose to do business. Going forward, the best way to keep your share of loan volume is to ensure that your dealership partners successfully sell to this new single-visit customer. But how?
The Answer: Keep it Simple —
- Be available during dealership hours and not just 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.
- Provide fast, consistent loan decisions.
- Be willing to advance on consumer protection products that add value to the loan and take away customer concern.
- Consider offering complimentary limited warranties that help extinguish customer hesitation.
With vehicle dependability called into question, the ability for your dealership partners to sell vehicle service contracts will be at the forefront of their minds in the coming months. Consumer protection products will not only mitigate customer concern, but also reduce the likelihood of defaults. This is especially important in the subprime space where a vehicle breakdown could cause a consumer to choose between making their monthly payment and repairing their car.
Of course, not all customers have the credit history to afford a loan that takes into account the vehicle cost and the traditional F&I products sold within the dealership. That’s where structuring complimentary limited offerings within your loan can take the lead. This way, the customer still gets coverage on some of the most important parts of their vehicle, your loan is better protected from default, and the dealership has the opportunity to upsell to different coverage levels to increase their profit.
Whether you can structure your loan advance to take the cost of selling F&I products into account, or provide complimentary limited offerings, your loan will stand out and keep you top of mind. Combine this with quality customer service and F&I managers will prefer to sell your loans.
With over 35 years of innovating nimble consumer protection products for dealerships across the U.S., EFG Companies knows how to structure your loan to stand out from the crowd. Contact us today to find out how.