TORRANCE, Calif. — F&I and Showroom is now accepting nominations for its 2018 F&I Dealer of the Year and F&I Pacesetters contest, which is being sponsored by American Financial & Automotive Services Inc. for the second year in a row. The nomination period ends Aug. 15, 2018.

Now in its 17th year, the F&I Dealer of the Year and F&I Pacesetters program recognizes operations with highly profitable F&I departments that demonstrate a commitment to regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction. Dealership employees, general agents, vendors, and F&I product providers are encouraged to nominate their stores and dealer clients for the award.

“This is my favorite time of year, when we get to honor the top F&I operations in the nation,” said Gregory Arroyo, editorial director of F&I and Showroom and Auto Dealer Today magazines. “And I’d like to thank Arden Hetland and the team at American Financial & Automotive Services for giving us the opportunity to do so by once again sponsoring our annual awards program.”

Hetland, president of American Financial & Automotive Services, added: “We are proud to sponsor the F&I Pacesetter and F&I Dealer of the Year contest. For over 35 years, we have prided ourselves in giving back to the industry.  Sponsoring these awards for the second year in a row is our way of saying thank you.”

The magazine will first select six finalists, or F&I Pacesetters of the Year. They will be featured in the magazine’s conference issue and recognized during a special awards ceremony at Industry Summit 2018, which is scheduled for Oct. 8–10 at the Caribe Royale Orlando in Orlando, Fla.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, one finalist will be named the 2018 F&I Dealer of the Year. That operation will also appear on the cover of F&I and Showroom’s December 2018 issue, which will feature an extended profile on the winning operation.

To nominate a dealership or dealer group, fill out the contest’s nomination form as completely as possible. List any and all awards or certifications earned by the dealership and its F&I team, as well as describe in detail the process followed by the operation’s F&I staffers. Be sure to note whether the dealership or group employs any special compliance process, such as the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Fair Credit Compliance Policy & Program, or has updated its sales and F&I processes to address new buying habits or to improve the customer experience.

Consumer ratings on DealerRater, Yelp, Google, and Facebook are also considered during the judging process, as well as an operation’s standing with the Better Business Bureau.

“Great product penetration rates and per-copy averages will get you noticed, but we look at the complete picture when selecting the six finalists and our eventual F&I Dealer of the Year,” Arroyo said. “Again, we’re looking for highly profitable F&I departments that demonstrate a commitment to regulatory compliance, ethics, and a customer-centric F&I Process. If that describes your store or your client, nominate them today.”

For more information or to nominate a dealership or dealer group, click here.