F&I dept. - stay or go?

Adrian Stachowski

Hi Guys.

I'm a journalist, a writer for "Dealer" Magazine that comes out in Poland. I'm working on a article that covers the debate around F&I department and it's role within a dealership. I was wondering if I could ask you guys for your opinion. Is it better to have a seperate F&I specialist ot to integrate F&I process into a one-salesman scenario? What do you thing, what are the pros and cons of both ways to approach this issue? And while you give me your opinion, I would like to ask to describe your operation in that regard.

Let's have a debate!


Taylor  Politte

My opinion is that its a fallacy to think of the F/I as a one size fits all approach. I have seen many different F/I settups that work for different dealers and their customers.  Why would there have to be one uniform approach?  Does Dale's Dodge have to do it the same way as Dan's Dodge?  Or because it works better for Dan's Dodge does that mean it will work just as good for Dale's Dodge? How about we let Dale and Dan figure out what works best for Dale and Dan. 

Joe Tareen

You ask a very relevant questions as it pertains to the future of automotive retailing. I believe what dealers and OEMs think here is irrelevant. The consumer is already driving the marketplace towards consolidating this department or at least placing it in front of the entire sales transaction. Capital One has a web platform that allows customers to shop for cars and deals based on their pre-approved loan amount. As more players enter this market, we will see these forces coupled with consumers' wish to expedite the entire process will eventually reduce the relevance of the F&I department as a revenue channel for dealerships. A smart dealer will recognize this today and fine tune their technology and process to prepare themselves for this shift. The future of automotive retailing for dealerships is really going to be about volume and speed of transaction. Not slowing down the process to extract more gross profits per transaction.

Megan Barto

Of course it's more beneficial to have a separate F & I department (& I don't just say that because I'm an F & I Director -- I mean I do buuuutttt read on).  F & I isn't just about "selling products" is also about compliance, lending, paperwork, etc.  Do you really want your sales people to be responsible for EVERYTHING? The desk managers have enough to worry about with recalls, ordering, shop bills, dealer trades, not to mention the customers.


Who would it benefit to get rid of the F & I Department?

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