The drift has been to direct and high-street lenders, and the challenge is now to restore retail buyers’ confidence in dealers as a ‘centre of excellence’ in this aspect of car buying.
FLA research has revealed a wide gap between the best and worst dealer groups. Some secure finance business on seven in 10 sales but the poorest performers manage only one in five.
Finance companies in the FLA accept it is their responsibility to make dealer group staff more competent.
Some executives are baffled by the inability of dealers to see the potential of F&I business at a time when margins are being squeezed.
The FLA competence certificate is awarded to candidates who complete a free online test designed to provide the basics. Finance companies are convinced some showroom staff try to make a sale while failing to understand either the appropriate technique or the key selling points in some finance packages.
They are up against slickly marketed finance offers from supermarkets and high-profile brand names.