What's in a name? In J.D. Power's case, a name carries a lot of weight.
The company launched a full suite of F&I products last month at 10 dealerships in the Southeast. Jason Pilger Hyundai, a dealership in Mississippi, boosted its F&I product penetration to about 65 percent in three weeks, from between 30 and 40 percent before selling J.D. Power products.
"I knew right away with J.D. Power. I knew right away I wanted to be part of this," Dealer Principal Jason Pilger said. "Consumers have so much confidence" in the brand.
A few years ago, it probably seemed unnecessary for F&I providers to be customer-facing. The F&I manager sells the products to customers anyway, so presumably, dealerships were the ones that needed to be sold on a specific F&I product company, not consumers.
Should F&I providers market to consumers more directly now? Maybe.
If General Motors' dealerships have to more clearly disclose when customers buy F&I products that are not GM products, but from a third party, customers will likely ask who the F&I provider is. A household name will give them more confidence in the company and its products and services.
Some dealerships include videos from F&I providers on their websites to explain the value of products, but customers may not see those videos unless they're specifically looking for F&I information.
Today's consumers want to be in the know. They want to trust and feel comfortable with the companies they buy from. F&I product providers should be a part of that.