The recession’s effects on the industry last year wasn’t lost on F&I, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s DATA report, which showed declines in aftermarket income, F&I and service-contract acceptance rates.
Aftermarket income (combined gross from F&I and service contracts) fell to 25.7 percent of new- and used-vehicle department gross profit in 2009, down from nearly 30 percent in 2008 “as customers economized during the deepening recession,” the report stated.
F&I and service-contract penetration rates fell for new and used vehicles combined, as financing became difficult for customers with credit rated “Alt-A” and below.
Service-contract penetration for new vehicles held share at 32.4 percent in 2009, far from the relative peaks of 35 percent in 1986 and 34 percent in 2004.
On a positive note, 2009 did show some improvements from the previous year.
Gross profit margin on new-vehicle sales was 4.5 percent of the selling price in 2009, up from 4.4 percent in 2008 when gas prices were volatile.
Last year also saw a year-over-year improvement in new-vehicle F&I penetration, which stood at 55.7 percent in 2009.