EFG Companies, of Hyundai Assurance fame, and Northwood University have partnered on a new F&I Innovator of the Year Award.
“This competition exemplifies the Northwood University philosophy of hands-on learning,” the Midland, MI-based school says in a statement. “It provides our students the unique opportunity to see first-hand how entrepreneurism and leadership can impact the industry as a whole.”
For the first competition for the annual award, six teams of Northwood junior and senior undergraduates specializing in automotive marketing and management will compete to “conceptualize and build a new F&I product while earning course credit.”
Each team will be assigned an F&I director who will spend one hour per week with it as a mentor. Additionally, teams will be keeping weekly video diaries that will be uploaded to YouTube detailing their progress.
The judging of each team’s business case will be performed by Northwood automotive educators, EFG executives and leading dealer principals, EFG and Northwood say.
The winning team receives $25,000 and the opportunity to develop their F&I product for automotive retailing.
EFG agrees to return a portion of the winning product’s revenues to Northwood.
“The increasing compliance and customer retention pressure, and the challenge of appealing to a new and highly informed generation, have predicated the need for the industry to turn innovation on its head,” says John Pappanastos, President & CEO-EFG Companies. “These students represent a fourth of the U.S. population with $200 billion in annual buying power. Our hope is that other F&I providers will follow suit in finding new ways to innovate and drive value for dealers.”
The introductory competition runs from Sept. 27 to Nov. 13 of this year.