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Are car buyers who work-from-home making F&I sales easier?

Car buyers who no longer commute to an office seem to be spending more both on the price of a vehicle and the F&I products to protect it.

For the last few years since the start of the pandemic, companies have been more open to the idea of working from home to reduce turnover while maintaining productivity.

Though some major companies are starting to bring back workers to a ‘hybrid’ work environment, those that are counted as ‘fully remote’ workers are likely here to stay.

Dealers have been seeing an unexpected benefit from the work-from-home crowd. Car buyers who are no longer commuting to an office seem to be spending more both on the price of a vehicle and willing to spend more on F&I products to protect them.

How can F&I capitalize on this trend and why does working from home translate into bigger opportunities for PVR growth? 

Let’s unpack it…

Cash Heavy: If you’re not spending a hundred dollars or more on gas and routine maintenance due to commuting five days a week, that’s extra money that can be allocated to a higher car payment. With higher interest rates, it becomes even more important to have that extra $40-60+ per month to buy the car you want.

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A recent survey by GfK reveals that 47% of car buyers with a flexible work schedule were looking to buy a new car in the upcoming year. These are perfect opportunities to increase PVR relatively easily when payment buyers have more to spend.

EV/Hybrids More Popular: Another interesting finding was that buyers that were either fully remote or working a flexible schedule were more likely to buy a hybrid or EV than a regular gas model. Easy to see why…if they don’t have to drive much each week, the issue of ‘range anxiety’ is no longer as big of a concern since there is no long daily commute.

This gives F&I staff more opportunities to sell (and upsell) enhanced EV protection and products in the channel. Be sure your provider has added robust add-ons for EVs and hybrids.

Considering Luxury Vehicles More: Many remote workers average at least $75k in annual income, so more buyers in this segment are taking the plunge on luxury vehicles or choosing an expensive trim package. The splurge is more likely with higher income.

F&I managers can benefit here from higher prices for higher trim & options packages as the buyer will understand that with all the added tech comes the high price to repair it.

Higher finance reserves come with luxury vehicles even with the current state of higher base rates. PVR has already been bolstered by this last year but with more buyers working from home or having a hybrid schedule, those reserves should continue to increase.

Younger Generation of Buyers: More Millennials and Gen Z are working from home or working within a hybrid schedule. They see F&I products as more about peace of mind than extravagance. 

These buyers simply don’t want to have the hassle of a car breaking down and having to take time to figure out how it will get fixed. This seems to be leading to an increase in PPM and VSCs.

Younger generations of car buyers are more likely to buy F&I products if they are fully informed of the benefits before coming to the dealership. Stores that have leveraged online education for F&I products come out as the winner here.

There is no crystal ball that will give a window into the future of working from home but it’s safe to say that for a decent amount of the working population, it may be. 

F&I managers can identify opportunities to increase PVR and penetration by simply getting to know their car buyers and asking if they are ‘lucky enough to work from home?’ It’s a relevant question now, so why not ask?

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Kristine Cain
Kristine Cain
Kristine Cain is a contributing writer for CBT News. She has over 26 years of experience in the automotive industry specializing in F&I and B2B sales.

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