On the latest edition of F&I Today, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Scott Gunnell, Group Vice President of JM&A Group. Gunnell is an expert in the field of finance and insurance (F&I), and he joins the show to discuss recent trends and how the EV market is impacting the automotive industry.
Gunnell begins by discussing how customer expectations have changed. The pandemic created situations that required flexibility and adaptability. Dealers were able to sell and service vehicles in unique ways that transcended the traditional car-buying experience. Customers have been introduced to these new tactics and technologies, such as contactless delivery and online car-buying, and they now view these nuances as necessities.
“A lot of our surveys suggest that 75% of dealers are adopting digital retailing solutions today,” said Gunnell. “Dealers recognize it’s not a bad thing for the consumer to purchase a transaction differently than the way we used to do it where it was mostly human intensive at the dealership level.”
For many years, F&I has been contained in a controlled environment for dealers. However, this all changed last year as more components of F&I moved online during digital retailing integration. The control shifted hands from the dealership to the consumer. Gunnell believes this isn’t necessarily a bad trend though. He says that dealers must turn their focus to controlling the environment in which customers shop F&I instead of controlling the buying process.
Gunnell then discusses the impact EVs has on the F&I sector. Gunnell says the primary focus concerning the arrival of EVs is what customers want. While automakers might push electrification, the market will be completely dependent on consumers buying EVs. If consumers truly want electrification, Gunnell says the focus then becomes maximizing what customers get out of their vehicle purchase. Regardless of how fast EVs arrive, dealers will simply have another opportunity to showcase how well they can adapt.