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F&I Dealer of the Year

F&I Products

Setting the Pace

Meet the five finalist for the 2015 F&I Dealer of the Year award, the winner of which was announced earlier this month at the magazine's annual conference.

September 2015, F&I and Showroom - Cover Story

by Editorial Staff

For all their differences, this year’s F&I Pacesetters share a host of commonalities in the way they approach F&I performance, customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.

This year’s field consists of operations from Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Each boasts active management teams, pay plans that balance performance with customer satisfaction and multilayered compliance procedures. The following profiles provide a glimpse of this year’s F&I Pacesetters and the people who lead them.

Davis-Moore Automotive
Background Check: Davis-Moore Automotive, a dealer group headquartered in Wichita, Kan., was founded by Grant Davis in 1955. When Davis passed away in 2001, Dawson Grimsley — who has worked for the group since 1976 — took over as co-owner and president, along with Vice President Sean Tarbell and Treasurer Stuart Ray.

The dealer group is the largest in the state, operating five stores in Wichita: Davis-Moore Chevrolet, Davis-Moore Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Davis-Moore Mazda, Davis-Moore Lincoln and Davis-Moore Fiat of Wichita. The dealer group also runs the Clint Bowyer Autoplex in Emporia, Kan.

The Numbers: F&I profit per retail unit (PRU) sits at $1,230 for new vehicles and $1,017 for used. Leading the way are service contracts, which penetrate at a 55% clip.
“Our biggest focus for products is on service contracts,” Tarbell says. “I think everybody really believes in [that product].”

Davis-Moore Automotive in Wichita, Kan., enforces its successful F&I process by video-recording every transaction and using those videos for training and compliance purposes.
Davis-Moore Automotive in Wichita, Kan., enforces its successful F&I process by video-recording every transaction and using those videos for training and compliance purposes.

GAP comes in at a close second with a 47% acceptance rate, while tire-and-wheel penetration sits at 38%. Revenue from the group’s F&I operations accounts for more than $4 million of the group’s annual revenue, which totals $179 million.

Compliance Check: “Like most organizations that run good finance numbers, we have the same process with every customer,” Tarbell notes. “Every customer is going in with a finance manager, and we menu-sell — we’re just giving every single [customer] the opportunity to buy products.”

The dealer group uses a Web-based menu from Ristken Software Services. It also video-records every transaction to ensure every producer follows the group’s process. Those videos are audited every 10 days. But the videos are also used for training, with F&I personnel reviewing each other’s presentations monthly to pick up new ideas or spot inconsistencies.

In addition, each of the group’s 11 F&I managers — who have 133 years of combined F&I experience — are certified by the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals (AFIP). And a representative from EFG Companies, the group’s F&I product provider, visits Davis-Moore stores every two weeks to keep things running smoothly.  

F&I Driver: Tarbell says the main driver of the group’s F&I revenue is its low turnover. Most of Davis-Moore’s F&I managers were promoted from the sales floor, and the dealerships’ F&I pay plans are closely tied to CSI.

Davis-Moore Automotive operates five stores in Wichita, Kan., including Davis-Moore Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. The group also runs the Clint Bowyer Autoplex in Emporia, Kan.
Davis-Moore Automotive operates five stores in Wichita, Kan., including Davis-Moore Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. The group also runs the Clint Bowyer Autoplex in Emporia, Kan.

“We do what we say we’ll do,” he says. “And people like doing business with us.”
Trophy Case: Davis-Moore won the Better Business Bureau Integrity Award in 2015 and boasts a slew of Reader’s Choice awards from Wichita’s local newspaper,
The Wichita Eagle. President Dawson Grimsley was a TIME Dealer of the Year nominee in 2011.

Setting the Pace: “We have a really good reputation in our community,” Tarbell says. That seems like an understatement, given that the dealership has supported dozens of organizations, including the American Red Cross, Kansas Humane Society, Special Olympics and United Way. And in August, for every car sold, Davis-Moore donated $50 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“We just all believe that it’s important to give back and be involved,” Tarbell adds. “We’re returning the favor to the community for doing business with us.”

Baierl Automotive
Background: This third-generation dealer group was founded by Bob Baierl in 1954 as a small, family dealership — a Chevrolet point — in Ambridge, Pa. In the early ’60s, Baierl’s nephew, Bill, joined the organization, and the two moved the dealership to Wexford, Pa.

Bill became president and CEO of the dealer group in 1962, then took over ownership in the mid-’80s. In April 2007, Bill passed away unexpectedly, thrusting the group’s current president and CEO, Lee Baierl — the founder’s son and Bill’s cousin — into a leadership role. Today, the operation counts 10 rooftops in Wexford, Pittsburgh, Seneca, Cranberry Township and Zelienople. It also employs more than 650 individuals, including Lee’s son — also named Lee —  nephew Bob, who serves as vice president, and several other family members.

Founded in 1954, Wexford, Pa.-based Baierl Automotive operates 10 rooftops and employs 650 individuals while maintaining a small business approach.
Founded in 1954, Wexford, Pa.-based Baierl Automotive operates 10 rooftops and employs 650 individuals while maintaining a small business approach.

The Numbers: Counting new- and used-car sales, leases and budget cars, the group’s per-copy average hovers around $1,000. The group also averages just less than 1.5 products per deal, with service contracts and GAP leading the way. The group’s chargeback rate sits at 7.1%.

Compliance: While the group maintains the small-business approach it was founded on, there’s nothing small about its approach to compliance. And it all starts with Baierl’s board of directors, which counts two former bankers as members. According to Bob Baierl, the two board members have taken active roles in reviewing and improving the group’s compliance processes.

“They lived in a realm of compliance,” the executive says of the pair, “so they want to make sure we fall in line with what they’re used to.”

A deal checklist guides the dealership’s sales and F&I processes, with managers serving as checkpoints to ensure every procedure is followed. Last summer, the group installed the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)’s Fair Credit Compliance Policy & Program, with all deals beginning at the same starting point in terms of price and rate. If there is a deviation, sales managers are required to document the reason in the program’s form.

Baierl and Finance Director Dan Boyd also team up with the group’s F&I product provider, Resource Automotive, to conduct monthly deal audits. The results of those reviews are then presented during the operation’s monthly F&I meeting, where a new compliance topic is introduced and performance numbers are reviewed. The F&I director also works with each team member and assists with training and employee reviews.

F&I Driver: Consistent training and management involvement drives the group’s 14-member F&I team.

Pictured are members of Baierl Automotive’s management team, including Variable Operations Director Shawn Kukic, Finance Director Dan Boyd and Vice President Bob Baierl.
Pictured are members of Baierl Automotive’s management team, including Variable Operations Director Shawn Kukic, Finance Director Dan Boyd and Vice President Bob Baierl.

There are the group’s monthly F&I meetings, which serve to enforce the operation’s performance expectations, with each store’s numbers reviewed before the group’s entire F&I team. Prior to the meeting, Boyd and Baierl will visit each store to review performance and provide training.

The group is also looking to add a new level of accountability for its F&I producers. It’s currently developing an F&I scorecard that will be issued by the group’s “deal center,” where completed deals are sent from each store. The scorecard will rate producers on how well they complete and package deals.  

Trophy Case: The group has earned a host of CSI- and volume-based awards and distinctions, including Chevrolet and Cadillac’s Mark of Excellence awards, presidents’ awards from Honda and Toyota and the Subaru Stellar Care Award. The group is also a member of the Kia Dealer Excellence Program.

Setting the Pace: In recent years, the group has contributed $5 million to the University of Pittsburgh for the Baierl Recreation Center, donated $3 million to the Baierl Family YMCA in North Hills, Pa., and contributed $1.5 million to the Sarah Heinz House. In all, the group supports more than 60 organizations, including the Passavant Hospital Cancer Center, North Allegheny School District, the Imani Christian Academy, the Cranberry Township swimming pool, the Pine Township Community Center and North Hills Youth Ministry.

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