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Training key to boost F&I sales

One in four buyers of Ford’s main brands – Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Mazda – are using finance supplied by Ford Financial Britain.

But the operation is keen to raise its penetration and is offering dealers training to help them better push its products.

John Coffey, Ford Financial Britain managing director, says: “We need to deserve the right to be the finance company of choice within the distribution network and of the consumers they serve.

We would hope to improve our ratio through a service proposition mindset and support for dealers, manufacturers and customers. It is our role to demonstrate that we have a value proposition.”

Ford supports retailers with F&I resources and products. Sales training is intended to improve professionalism of sales staff, create transparency with customers and ensure compliance with FSA regulations.

Coffey adds: “This is an area I am focusing on. In terms of training, we provide an FSA health check. We go in and check on the point of sale and whether the knowledge is where it should be for compliance.

“It’s an ongoing measurement to make sure the description of the products and insurance are appropriate.”

While Ford is keen to support its retailers, it does not intend to go as far as promoting its services via direct mail, similar to the methods used by high street lenders.

“We will not behave like a direct lender who thrives through advanced publicity,” Coffey says. “We manage through dealer channels and we want to ensure that the personnel are best equipped to offer F&I to end users.”

He believes the best way to tackle the threat of high street lenders is through a professionally trained retail network. And he adds that Ford’s focus on purely motor gives it an edge on other lenders who will try to sell customers a range of finance and insurance products. “We will not try to barrage customers with other offers.”

Coffey also predicts that bundled leasing schemes such as car maintenance, which grew in popularity at the start of the decade, will decline. He points to the failure of Ford’s Acumen product a few years ago.

“The monthly payments are not as attractive. Also first services are becoming longer and longer, and quality standards are continuing to improve,” he says.

“We don’t have one at the moment – it is not viable.”

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