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Forthright in point of sales push for buyers

Forthright Finance is to undertake a month-long trial in centralised finance and insurance selling for a major dealer group in order to try to boost finance penetration.

During the month the dealer group will pass on details of any customer who did not take finance or insurance at the point of sale to a Forthright Finance telemarketing team.

Peter Landers, director, said the full scale experiment was a natural extension of the company's Income Plus strategy.

A telemarketing team already worked with participating dealers to sell customers into additional styles of insurance.

“We want to see if there is any benefit in centrally selling F&I on behalf of the dealers,” said Mr Landers. “The dealer is not always best placed to sell these products. But, when the bank comes on the phone a couple of days later, we often find we get a different response.”

The Income Plus programme is working well for Forthright customers, and for those of fellow Bank of Scotland company Capital Bank Motor.

Mr Landers said some volume dealerships were drawing £8,000 to £10,000 net insurance income from the scheme.

The finance house is sensitive to charges it is taking customers away from the dealership. “It is important the dealers realise we are trying to get customers back into the showroom,” said Mr Landers. “We firmly believe our future is with the dealers. Everything we do is dealer related.”

Forthright Finance is in the midst of a concerted dealer recruitment programme and claims to have generated 80 to 100 new customer enquiries in the first four weeks. While the company retains its traditional market, it has developed from specialising in smaller independent retailers to taking on more large “supermarket-style” used car sites.

“These are professionally run businesses - effectively franchised operators without a franchise. In fact, their franchise is used cars,” said Mr Landers. “Companies like Great Trade Centre have changed beyond all recognition in the last 10 years.”

Forthright has its own team working the back room at GTC and is also closely involved with Motorhouse 2000, the new business launched by Motorhouse of Cannock founder, Chris Bowen.

Mr Landers described it as “a fantastic operation - as good a car retailer as you are ever likely to see”. Other customers include Carcraft and Bristol Trade Centre.

Forthright is able to tap into several marketing programmes developed with Capital Bank Motor including Dealer Alert and Dealer First. Both companies have finally brought their new SMS computerised underwriting and processing system on stream. The £14m development has been “a long time coming”.

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