The F&I team at Bob Moore Subaru of Oklahoma City is proving every day that Subaru buyers are F&I product buyers. The four-person team currently averages just north of $1,500 per copy on new retail sales, with service contracts, GAP, and prepaid maintenance leading the way with acceptance rates of 53%, 34% and 27%, respectively.
General Manager Charles Davis acknowledges Subaru’s reputation for low F&I production but says it just comes down to making sure customers are aware of their options. In fact, his F&I team does pretty well with the store’s ancillary offerings, including tire-and-wheel (15% penetration), appearance (23%), and windshield repair (22%).
“I hear it every time I go to a 20 Group meeting: ‘How are you running $1,500 a copy? We’re not even striking $1,000,’” he says. “It’s a misconception that Subaru customers, because they’re so frugal, don’t buy that stuff. It just comes down to presenting all our products to every person, and not trying to cram it down their throats.”
But it’s clear there’s more to the dealership’s F&I success than not being afraid to present products.
Like other Bob Moore dealerships, the store’s sales and F&I processes are guided by a set of checklists designed to keep the store in compliance. They’re also designed to ensure nothing is missed. “You can’t have enough backstops,” Davis says. “We don’t want to have to ask them to come back. We want them to have a good experience.”
And while dealer Mark Moore holds his people to a high standard, especially managers, the group does give general managers the freedom to add a few wrinkles to the process — “if it’s for the greater good,” Davis says. But production still depends upon good people and good products.
“Salespeople have to not only sell, not only have high CSI, they have to show us integrity,” Davis says, adding that all but one newly promoted F&I producer is AFIP-certified. “It’s what you do when people aren’t looking. So we look at character, which is the biggest determining factor as to whether a person gets promoted.”
That was the criteria Davis used when he hired Lanna Robinson as a salesperson 10 years ago. She was promoted from F&I manager at Bob Moore Buick GM to F&I director at Davis’ store six months ago.
Davis’ store was 30 days into Phase One of Subaru’s rollout of its new digital retailing system, “Seamless Shopping,” when he spoke to F&I and Showroom in mid-September. Currently, the system allows customers to value their trades, personalize payments, prequalify or apply for financing, and reserve a vehicle online. Phase Two of the rollout will include F&I product sales.
“Customer will be able to pick, click, and print to send the information. We’ll then have the car pulled up, paperwork printed, and the finance manager will be ready to explain to them what they’re buying,” Davis says. “That transparency may cost us some gross, but people will choose us over the next guy.”
Last August, Davis and his wife, Lisa, lost their seven-year-old daughter Mia to lymphoma. The couple used the tragedy as inspiration, which strengthened their commitment to giving back. This year, the dealership earned Subaru’s Love Promise Customer Commitment Award, recognizing the efforts of Davis and Lisa, who heads up the dealership’s marketing efforts, during the automaker’s Loves to Care Month.
Activities included handing out dog bandanas and Subaru sunglasses during a dog adoption event at the Oklahoma City Zoo for National Dog Day; delivering Subaru blankets, bags, and care cards to the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Oklahoma City; sponsoring a digital photo booth in connection with the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s World Tiger Day; donating $13,000 to Ally’s House, a pediatric cancer charity; and volunteering alongside other dealership staffers at Meals on Wheels of Norman (Okla.)’s annual “Share the Love” event.
“We’re kind of committed with Subaru during various times of year. But once we realized we could it down to a local level and the local chapters within those organization, we got an influx of support,” Davis says. “I don’t think you can say enough about our commitment to the community. And that’s why people like to spend money with us.”