Auto shoppers seem conflicted in their perception of finance and insurance products and how dealerships sell them, according to a survey focusing on easing pain points.
More than 60% of those polled say they believe F&I add-on products are just ways for stores to make more money. Nearly half say they would never buy anything other than a car from a dealership, according to the study by MakeMyDeal, a Cox Automotive company.
But the firm says deeper questioning of respondents gets to the root of the problem: Resistance felt in the F&I office is not about the products themselves, but about the experience.
Despite misgivings, 84% of respondents say they believe F&I products may have real value, with 66% thinking aftermarket offerings such as extended warranties and vehicle protection plans may save money in the long run.
Shifting F&I product information online could abate negativity, says Mike Burgiss, MakeMyDeal’s founder and vice president. “By changing when and how the shopper is introduced to F&I products, dealers could see a dramatic change in consumers’ likelihood to buy F&I products.”
According to the study, 54% of people polled say they prefer to complete their vehicle purchase and leave the dealership as quickly as possible.
One third of respondents say they find lists of F&I product choices confusing.
Currently, most consumers are first exposed to F&I offerings after the vehicle price and trade-in have been negotiated at the dealership, but 83% of those polled say they prefer to learn about F&I products beforehand and on their own.
“When F&I product information and pricing is brought online, dealers not only provides an exceptional buying experience, but they also help more shoppers realize the value these products provide,” Burgiss says.
Once a consumer has a better understanding of the offerings, they are more open to hearing about them from the F&I manager. That includes even the most skeptical shoppers, says the study.
The polling was of people who purchased a vehicle from a dealer within the previous six months or were in the market to purchase a vehicle from a dealer within the following six months. Five hundred buyers and shoppers were polled.