Tag Archive | "American Financial and Automotive Services Inc."

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)


Demetrios Lahiri, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
For more than 35 years, the American Financial companies have assisted dealers in increasing sales and maximizing overall profits. At American Financial, our driving force is to enhance the professional image of our industry through exceptional customer service. It is only by consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations that we can earn their loyalty, expand our customer base and increase the value of our products.

We are constantly looking for products that can increase profits in F&I for our dealer partners. However, for American Financial to bring a product to market, that product must provide an actual benefit to the end consumers. With the proliferation of smart keys and key fobs, a key replacement product was a natural fit for our views and the market need.

What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc.’s key replacement policy offers some of the highest levels of coverage in the marketplace today. In addition to annual benefits provided for key replacement, our product also includes 24 roadside assistance, lockout service, trip routing, and national rental car discounts.

As with all of American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc.’s products, we differentiate our products not just by the product itself, but by the training, development, compliance, and support that goes with said products. From product implementation to sales training to claims administration, we make sure that our products, including key replacement, succeed at a dealership and consumer level.

What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
We employ a direct field force that works with our dealer partners at multiple levels. Dealership development managers, regional sales managers and vice presidents of sales all have responsibilities to our dealers/clients.

We utilize our direct field force as a constant point of contact with our existing dealer partners and with any potential dealer partners. By keeping those individuals informed and empowered to present the benefits of key replacement, we have see great success with the product. We utilize in-store visits, e-mail contacts, direct mail contacts and participation in state and national associations such as NADA, NAMAD, CMDA, FMDA, etc.

How has technology impacted Key Replacement in the last year, if at all? Do you see it having an impact in the future? Why or why not?
Technology has impacted us, and the entire industry, by having us push the envelope for coverage items and amounts that will keep up with tomorrow’s key products. In today’s market a certain dollar amount may be enough to satisfy most of the market, but what about a few years from now? What level of coverage will need to be provided to have the same impact for the end consumer? The real question is, will we be able to adapt as we always have. I believe we will be able to adapt as an industry.

The biggest issue in the next 3-5 years will be technology’s desire to eliminate keys from our vehicles completely by using smart phone apps. Creating a product that will provide key replacement benefits for the consumer when there is no key associated with the vehicle will be an interesting endeavor.

In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
Non-luxury makes and models. Since the genesis of key replacement products, everyone in the market acknowledged the value of the product with luxury makes and models. As the technology associated with luxury keys continues to trickle down to the non-luxury makes and models, the consumers need to protect themselves from unforeseen key expenses increases. This truly increased need in the non-luxury arena leads to increased sales opportunities and higher consumer satisfaction.

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Key Replacement Roundup


Key replacement is a relatively new product in the F&I world, but one that has grown tremendously in the past few years. We talked to some of the providers who offer key replacement to get their take on the product, and where they see it going, and it was no surprise to see their responses – every company we spoke with is expecting huge growth for this category.

Technology essentially created a need for the product, our respondents noted, with the advent of keys and key fobs that do more than simply lock and unlock a car. It started in the luxury space, but all the providers we spoke to see a hard push into the more “entry level” side of the market. Those technologies are trickling down to every make and model of automobile, and that will drive the need for key replacement even further in the next few years.

One interesting trend that emerged, however, is that many of the providers have seen more success overall when bundling this product with other offerings, such as tire & wheel or appearance protection, rather than selling it as a stand-alone product. It seems to benefit from being part of a package – customers perceive a greater value when it’s one component of a bundle.

Below, you’ll find the responses from six providers who offer key replacement products. We hope you find it as interesting a read as we did!

Key Replacement Roundup

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)
Demetrios Lahiri, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

For more than 35 years, the American Financial companies have assisted dealers in increasing sales and maximizing overall profits. At American Financial, our driving force is to enhance the professional image of our industry through exceptional customer service.

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Accelerated Service International (ASI)

Accelerated Service International (ASI)
Timothy Jacobson, Sales & Marketing Manager & Michael Moretz, Vice President of Sales, North America

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Accelerated Service International (ASI) has partnered with agents and their dealer clients for over a quarter of a century. ASI’s In-house automotive retail experts and field consultants utilize their years of industry experience to create unique and custom Dealer Service Plan offerings that fill the needs of dealers, agents and consumers.

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Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO)

Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO)
David Colville, Director of Training

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Automobile Protection Corp. (APCO) was established in 1984. From day one, our philosophy has been to provide leading edge benefits that enhance a consumer’s vehicle ownership experience. We strive every day to deliver world class service to our customers, dealers and agent representatives.

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IAS

IAS
Jeff Jagoe, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Founded in 1984, IAS was created to provide practical aftermarket programs and high quality administration and claims. IAS introduced key replacement in the fall of 2007 after a productive trial period with select IAS agents.

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RoadVantage

RoadVantage
Randy Ross, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

RoadVantage was founded in May 2011 by F&I industry veterans focused on one goal: build a better automotive aftermarket ancillary product company, from the ground up. Starting with a clean slate enabled us to eliminate the legacy issues that can be troublesome with providers and set a new industry standard in the process.

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Safe-Guard Products International LLC

Safe-Guard Products International LLC
David Duncan, President

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Features such as electronic chips and remote controllers make today’s keys much more costly to replace. Keys are not a $20 item any more. Protecting consumers from the perils of vehicle ownership has always been Safe-Guard’s focus. We strive to provide protection, security and peace of mind whether a customer’s keys are lost, stolen, locked in a vehicle – or even broken.

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