Two companies are taking new initiatives to try to build on the increase in point-of-sale business reported by the Finance & Leasing Association.
Time Out, Carlyle Finance’s idea, gives borrowers a one-month payment holiday once a year while Southern Finance is testing the advantage of providing specialists in dealerships to boost revenue.
A Carlyle Finance spokesman said Time Out was created because fresh appr-oaches were necessary to drive showroom traffic in challenging times.
“Running costs for cars are coming under increasing scrutiny because of rising road fund licence fees, insurance and fuel costs,” he said.
“Time Out makes it easier for customers to manage the cost of running a car and for dealers to help them.”
Carlyle thinks the idea will appeal because consumer finance is under most pressure at certain times of year, such as during summer holidays and at Christmas.
“ These financial peaks can create real stress for customers already seeing their disposable income under pressure from rising living costs,” said the spokesman.
Carlyle believes it will give dealers the chance to market finance offers with headlines such as ‘No payment due at Christmas’, or ‘No car payment when your car tax or insurance is due’.
The payment break can be taken at any time after the first three months of the agreement.
The finance period is increased – from 24 months to 26, or from 36 months to 39.
Time Out is available – subject to underwriting – on new and used cars up to seven years old.
Meanwhile, Southern Finance is trailing its ‘remote business manager service’ with a number of dealers.
The company says evidence suggests some retailers’ business managers are not generating enough income to meet their overhead cost.
Mike Davis, sales director, said: “The current economic climate and much greater regulatory pressures on retailers has meant some point-of-sale profit opportunities are being missed.
“Some dealers do not have the in-house resource to focus on finance sales. We provide a finance specialist to work with the motor retailer’s own vehicle sales personnel to help handle all aspects of the finance sale.
“Retailers get the virtual benefit of another member of staff free of charge, and they have access to in-house finance expertise.
“Retailers need to be more proactive about finance and this encourages customer loyalty.”