Tag Archive | "EasyCare"

Beyond the Full Product Suite


Interest among dealers in F&I production and profitability is elevated as profit margins remain compressed, new-vehicle sales show signs of plateauing, and dealers seek to maximize opportunities for service-department revenue. Among F&I product providers and administrators, the pressure to deliver benefits that appeal to agents and dealers and deliver real value for end users has never been greater.

To learn how the industry is keeping pace with the evolving needs of agents, dealers, and car buyers, P&A met with six high-ranking executives from some of the provider and administrator segment’s biggest players.

The Importance of a Full Product Suite

Matt Croak, president of Wise F&I, says his company constantly updates, changes, and augments its F&I product mix. Product development has been a focus for the past decade, he says, stressing that, to be competitive, a provider must offer a complete lineup. But in the age of digitization, they also have to do a whole lot more.

“A full suite of products isn’t enough; it’s having the technology to bring those products into the dealerships through online contracting and menu providers and adapting to changes in the car-buying process,” Croak says.

Like Croak, David Pryor of Safe-Guard Products International says his company invests heavily in product development — at the corporate level as well as with dealer clients.

“Program and product design is a key part of the Safe-Guard process and is usually one of the first discussions we have with clients,” says Pryor, who serves as the company’s CMO. “Over a series of product design sessions, Safe-Guard will be able to understand the client’s goals, desired customer experience, and, ultimately, design the program and product requirements to drive success.”

Tony Wanderon, president of National Auto Care, says offering a full product suite ensures every agent and dealer can find the products that fit their customers’ needs. Partnering with a full-suite F&I provider introduces “numerous efficiencies,” adds Dave Border, president of Allstate Dealer Services, including easier account maintenance, combined billing and commission payments, and improved reporting.

Larry Dorfman adds “consistency in sales and F&I training” — a key consideration for any dealer that is serious about F&I production — to the list of additional benefits brought by a full product suite. A single provider can offer “streamlined training for all benefits, rather than two or more different companies fighting for shelf space and confusing the employees with different training processes,” says the chairman of APCO, home of the EasyCare and GWC Warranty brands.

For Patrick Brown, president of IAS, a full suite is “more than just VSC and ancillary products,” noting that his company offers services ranging from income development and reinsurance to compliance training and marketing solutions. “We can help them grow their business by offering everything they need to increase F&I production.”

Defining the Full Product Suite

National Auto Care’s Wanderon says that his definition of “full suite” depends largely on the client, but most will include vehicle service contracts, GAP coverage, tire-and-wheel, and appearance protection as the most critical benefits, relegating other product types to a lower tier.

Pryor also includes prepaid maintenance on his must-have list, followed by “daily driving” coverage, including but not limited to tire-and-wheel, dent, windshield, and roadside assistance. He says Safe-Guard is working to “round out” its suite with lot-management, connectivity, and theft-deterrence and -recovery products.

“We’ll continue to evaluate how consumers drive and use their vehicles and make sure that we’re offering products that offer extra peace of mind and convenience,” Pryor says.

Allstate’s Border divides F&I products into categories: Service contracts offer long-term peace of mind, GAP adds a layer of security to financing, and appearance products assure the customer their investment will be protected against undue disfigurement.

“The ability to bundle a number of these products into a combo product can greatly simplify the presentation process and increase consumer comfort. Additionally, a provider with a full suite of products should offer a competitive reinsurance program,” Border says.

Brown agrees, adding that components such as income development and training, technology that streamlines the sale and administration of F&I products, and “multiple, A-rated underwriters” are somewhat less tangible but still valuable features that can help make a product suite complete. Finally, Dorfman says new technology can help dealers and managers build smarter processes and help establish lasting relationships with car buyers.

“It shouldn’t stop with vehicle coverage,” Dorfman says. “Retention tools like the SAVY Driver app tie the customer to their vehicle and to the dealership for service and repeat sales, which is instrumental in today’s digital age.”

As for which products to leave out, Wanderon says that, if pricing cannot be based on the underlying risk, he’s not comfortable with it. “In other words, some administrators underprice their products to gain market share, and we will not chase those who chose that path.”

Brown stresses that each of the products in IAS’s suite provide value to dealers and customers and that his company takes extra steps to ensure they are properly presented and sold.

“We’re not comfortable providing products that don’t have a clear benefit to the consumer. Additionally, we stay on top of the regulatory environment to ensure that products are being provided in a compliant manner,” Brown says.

Self-Administration and White-Labeling

Dorfman says each of APCO’s products are self-administered and -insured, noting, “Our EasyCare and GWC brands are on them and we assure the service delivers our brand promise.” Allstate Dealer Services “proudly” stands behind their products as both administrator and insurer, says Border, and his company develops and insures white-label products as a service for other admins.

“As a full-service F&I provider, we have complete control over the design and pricing of our programs and products,” Border says.

“We have seen a demand for white-labeled products in various channels and are able to provide that service for our clients,” says Croak, noting that Wise F&I administers every product in its suite. IAS and Safe-Guard self-administer nearly every product in their lineups, according to Brown and Pryor, with roadside assistance serving as a notable exception for both companies.

“Safe-Guard administers all of the products we offer except roadside assistance. Roadside requires significant scale to efficiently operate a 24/7 response center and the associated dispatch networks. We prefer to partner with a dedicated roadside provider to provide this service to our clients,” Pryor says.

Although more than 95% of his company’s products are self-administered, Brown prefers to rely on third parties for “smaller bolt-on services,” roadside included. “The key for us is ensuring that we have the ability to deliver the best product, service, and value to the consumer. We strongly prefer to do that in-house, but if we can’t, we partner with third parties to ensure that we can deliver best-in-class solutions.”

Wanderon says National Auto Care’s 34 years of experience in the administration business has been “critical” to the success of the company and its agent and dealer partners. He counts more than 6,000 dealerships, credit unions, and banks and finance companies on NAC’s administrative services roster and millions of contracts sold to date.

“We believe providing these services to our partners, along with the product offering, is imperative. Being the administrator allows us to have unwavering commitment to superior customer service and support,” Wanderon says. “In addition, it allows our partners to place their trust in us to take care of their customers — and the end consumers — in a time of need.”

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EasyCare® Promotes Scott Jacobsen to National Director of Business Performance for SAVY


NORCROSS, Ga. — EasyCare® (div. APCO Holdings) has named Scott Jacobsen as the National Director of Business Performance for SAVY®, the award-winning, dealer-branded mobile app suite designed to bridge the gap between the customer’s digital vehicle shopping experience and the dealership retail experience.

Based in the Atlanta area, Jacobsen will lead the SAVY team as well as the ongoing, store-by-store rollout of SAVY, which has earned a number of accolades since its launch including a first-place finish in the Tech Tank competition at last year’s Digital Dealer Conference & Expo.

“The response has been resounding. Our pipeline is full and we have already exceeded our second-quarter goal,” Jacobsen said, crediting SAVY’s success to its ability to transform lot operations and drive front- and back-end growth for dealers. “It’s all-encompassing. SAVY improves the upfront sales process and is the ultimate customer retention tool.”

Jacobsen joined EasyCare in 2011 as a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. He played a pivotal role in the development and launch of the 7th Profit Center, a turnkey retention program that markets to dealers’ customers, resulting in vehicle sales, after-sale service contract sales and more service business.

“Scott has been integral to realizing our goal of connecting dealers and customers with industry-leading technology that helps deliver a better customer service experience,” said Larry Dorfman, Chairman and CEO of APCO Holdings. “We appreciate his hard work and look forward to even greater accomplishments in the years ahead.”

For more information, visit www.EasyCare.com/savy.

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EasyCare Adds Connected Car Expert


NORCROSS, Ga. — Connected car expert Bob Dziadosz has joined EasyCare as a dealer performance driver. The Boston-area native and Babson College graduate is based in New England, where he is already working with dealers to introduce SAVY, EasyCare’s dealer-branded mobile app suite designed to bridge the gap between the customer’s online and in-store car-buying experience.

“Having experience with connected car technology aligns well with my priority at EasyCare, which is to help New England dealers succeed with SAVY,” said Dziadosz. “I’m fortunate to have relationships with dealers who are finding great value in this technology, which significantly expedites the sales process and provides customers a connected vehicle experience that drives them back to their dealership.”

Dziadosz brings a wealth and diversity of experience, EasyCare officials said, including tenures with Unilever, Polaroid and most recently LoJack, where he’s spent the last 16 years of his career. In addition to connected car technology, he has expertise in product launches, category management, business development and channel marketing.

Dziadosz demonstrated SAVY this past March at an exclusive event held during the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) annual convention in Las Vegas, where former J.D. Power CEO Finbarr O’Neill spoke to a room full of dealers about the importance of the customer experience in this age of technology. “SAVY is being so well-received in the marketplace, our goal is to make sure we can get these dealerships launched as quickly as possible,” Dziadosz said.

Scott Jacobsen, national director of business performance for SAVY, added; “We are confident in Bob’s leadership to introduce SAVY in a key market. His expertise in the connected car experience and vehicle telematics will help drive success for EasyCare dealers in New England.”

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APCO Adds Anne Bélec to Board of Directors


NORCROSS, Ga. — APCO Holdings Inc., the parent company of the EasyCare and GWC brands, announced the addition of Anne Bélec to its board of directors.

Bélec brings extensive experience in brand management. She spent 24 years with Ford Motor Co., where she served as director of Global Marketing for the automaker, as well as president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America and president of sales operations for Volvo Car Corp. in Sweden.

“Anyone who is fortunate enough to have crossed paths with Anne knows her as one of the most highly-effective leaders and marketing experts in the automotive industry,” said APCO Holdings Chairman Larry Dorfman. “We are really excited and honored to have her join our board of directors. Her presence on the team will undoubtedly accelerate the fulfillment of the goals we have set for helping our customers succeed and our company continue to claim our place as a major player in the dealership solutions industry.”

Bélec added: “I bring experience in a variety of roles, including field experience, interacting with dealers and managing a global brand. The ultimate goal is growth, obviously, but it’s also positioning EasyCare, GWC, Covideo and SAVY, the APCO Holdings brands, as the preferred choices for consumers and dealers. We want the relationship with the dealership to be one where they want to work with us because they believe it is the best product for their customers.”

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ADG EasyCare Adds Yelverton to F&I Specialist Roster


NORCROSS, Ga. — ADG EasyCare announced that Richard Yelverton has been hired as an F&I specialist. He is based in Northern Virginia and tasked with supporting EasyCare’s dealer clients by providing in-dealership F&I training and consulting and sitting in for F&I professionals.

“As our operation grows and our F&I development program evolves, we are adding to our ranks with professional, dynamic recruits, and Richard fits that description perfectly,” said Greg English, president of ADG EasyCare. “We expect our company and our clients to benefit from his work in the retail environment.”

Yelverton is a 10-year veteran of the automotive industry, having risen through the ranks at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where he ultimately served as branch manager for the company’s prominent, high-volume Walt Disney World branch in Orlando, Fla. He also served in a leadership position with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. prior to joining ADG EasyCare.

“I did my research and I know they wanted to bring on the right person,” Yelverton said. “They want people who have management and sales experience to be trained properly and to continue to train others, and I’m excited to join a company that puts so much focus on ongoing learning. From being encouraged to ‘read an article a day’ to the collaboration with my peers, I’ll be learning something new every day.”

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David Hunter joins ADG/EasyCare as an F&I Specialist


Automotive Development Group (ADG)/EasyCare announced that David Hunter has joined the company as an F&I specialist. His duties include in-dealership F&I training and consulting.

“David’s extensive industry experience and academic credentials are a powerful combination,” said Greg English, president of ADG. “We have nothing but the highest expectations for his success, and that of the dealers and F&I professionals with whom he works.”

Hunter earned a master’s degree in business administration from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., in September. He plans to apply the skills he acquired in his graduate studies and his experience in every phase of dealership operations to his new position.

“I grew up around the industry, at the dealership, cutting grass and sweeping the lot. I then moved into detail, parts and service, and then sales, and now I’m back on the finance side,” Hunter said. “I knew I wanted to stay in the automotive world. I want to be part of an industry that’s always changing.”

Hunter identified the emergence of new technology and plateauing sales as opportunities for auto dealers to update and strengthen their F&I processes, maximizing productivity and opportunities for fixed ops revenue.

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