I spent part of last week at the annual F&I Magazine Conference and Expo, and had a conversation that has been stuck in my head ever since I got back. I was speaking with a finance manager I’ve known for years, who told me how much he misses our auto finance leads and wishes that he could sign us up at his store.
The surprising thing is that when I asked why he couldn’t, his answer had nothing to do with budget or lead availability. He said that he couldn’t sign us up because he’s at a Toyota store, and there’s just no way that special finance can work in a store that isn’t domestic.
I know that opinion isn’t uncommon, but I’m here to tell you folks it’s just plain wrong. Special finance is thriving in stores across the country, from Cadillac dealers to Ford, and from Lexus to Kia, and everything in between. We do business with a good number of high line dealerships, and they all say that they love the idea of third-party leads, because it allows them to tap into a hugely profitable revenue opportunity without having to advertise their brand.
An Infiniti dealership in California did 30+ special finance deals last month, and their only means of driving that traffic into the store is third-party leads. The owner likes to laugh and say that even the stores next to him don’t know how he didn’t take the beating they did during the downturn, or who is buying all the Sentras and Hyundais he keeps out back.
As previously written, success in subprime demands a commitment from the top of the organization down, but your franchise affiliation has nothing to do with whether you can make a go of it or not. If it’s not your thing, no problem, but if you’ve had success working with challenged credit in the past and are steering clear because you don’t think you’re in the right kind of store, think again.
The money is out there for the taking, it’s just a matter of who’s going to get it.