Tag Archive | "tire and wheel"

Dent Wizard Rolls Out New F&I Programs

ST. LOUIS – Dent Wizard International is expanding beyond the appearance protection menu offerings it’s known for with the introduction of three new F&I programs.

The new lineup begins with AlwaysNu, which features base coverage for road hazard tire-and-wheel, cosmetic wheel repair, roadside assistance service and rental car reimbursement of up to $50 per day. Customers have the option to add any or all of the following coverages: dent repair with a hail benefit; windshield repair; interior repair; and key protection featuring Tile technology.

Tile uses Bluetooth to communicate with an easy-to-use companion app on a smartphone or tablet.

The F&I product provider also rolled out Nu Key, a key protection product featuring Tile, key lockout service, roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement of up to $50 per day.

Also included in the rollout is Ding Shield One, which features base coverage for dent repair, plus a hail benefit and rental car reimbursement of up to $50 per day. Buyers can also add cosmetic wheel repair; windshield repair; interior repair; cosmetic bumper repair; and key protection featuring Tile.

“These new F&I programs allow us to apply our proven customer service, product reliability and technician expertise beyond cosmetic reconditioning,” said Lindsey Bird, Dent Wizard’s senior vice president of F&I. “F&I managers can now offer their customers more of the right choices in easy-to-buy programs that let them drive off the lot with greater peace of mind. Customers are protected from the unexpected incidents that affect the safety, appearance, operation, and value of their new purchase.”

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Diamondbrite N.A. Now Approved Provider on Universal Lenders’ The Zero Plan

OAK PARK, Ill. — Environmental protection products distributor Diamondbrite N.A. and Universal Lenders LLC, creator of The Zero Plan, announce that they will be working together to offer financing solutions to auto dealers.

According to officials, the partnership will allow dealers to provide their customers who purchase Diamondbrite N.A. products, including lifetime warranted paint, fabric, wheel, and leather protection, with premium financing through The Zero Plan.

“The team at Universal Lenders is excited to be partnering with Diamondbrite N.A., which we recognize as a leader in our industry,” said Jeff Jacobs, president of Universal Lenders LLC. “The Zero Plan will offer Diamondbrite N.A. dealer clients a powerful closing tool utilizing zero percent financing that is typically not available for non-cancellable products.”

Universal Lenders’ Zero Plan offers funding to dealers in seven days, provides a collection program to limit cancellations, and expands the list of eligible products for dealers to finance, including tire-and-wheel and other ancillary F&I products.

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The Bundled Products Value Proposition

When it comes to F&I products, the buzzword of the day is “bundling.” Spurred in part by the advent of the electronic menu, providers have been experimenting with different combinations of ancillary products as well as vehicle service contracts and GAP coverage.

To learn more, P&A spoke with six experts: Bob Corbin of IAS, Allstate Dealer Services’ Doug Frey, RoadVantage’s Garret Lacour, John Luckett of Resource Agent Group (div. The Warranty Group), Kelly Price of National Automotive Experts (NAE)/NWAN and National Auto Care’s Tony Wanderon.

With their help, we will take a closer look at the reasons why providers are so passionate about this approach, how they feel it affects the F&I manager’s presentation, the administration of the products and what the future might hold for this sales model.

A Closer Look: The Components

When talking about bundles, the most important piece of the conversation is what goes into them. In general, providers are finding that the best approach is to have a standard package, but then give dealers and consumers the flexibility to customize them to increase the potential value. Experimentation is an ongoing process, but the typical bundle will offer some combination of tire-and-wheel, dent-and-ding, windshield repair, key replacement and roadside assistance.

At IAS, President and CEO Bob Corbin says the Austin, Texas-based company offers ready-made bundles with the standard range of products such as tire-and-wheel road hazard, dent-and-ding, windshield repair protection and key protection, but notes that there is wiggle room. Consumers and dealers can mix and match various interior and exterior protection products to create a bundle that works for them. “The combinations are limitless,” he says.

Garret Lacour is the founder and CEO of RoadVantage, which is also based in Austin. His company offers a “Preferred” family of customizable bundles that include sets of products designed specifically for lease or retail, including tire-and-wheel, cosmetic wheel, dent-and-ding, windshield repair and replacement, key replacement and roadside service, as well as interior and exterior repair. By going with a tiered approach, Lacour says, they increase the odds that one of the already-created bundles will work well in most situations. Like Corbin, Lacour notes that the actual products included can vary based on state and local regulations.

Meanwhile, Strongsville, Ohio-based NAE/NWAN takes a slightly different approach to bundling. According to company president Kelly Price, as long as the bundled products are compliant with the relevant laws, they will tailor the package to meet whatever needs the dealer might have. “We really customize,” she says, citing examples where a dealer might want to combine products that aren’t typically thought of as a set, such as dent-and-ding and key replacement. Another option that has proven popular is a bundle of multiple appearance protection products.

National Auto Care’s Tony Wanderon says the menu presentation is a key reference point. As president and CEO of the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based company, he has focused on bundling products that are strong when they stand alone but can offer more efficient and compelling menu presentations as a group. NAC combines tire-and-wheel with a “curb cosmetic” product, paintless dent repair, windshield repair, key replacement and roadside assistance in their “Complete Protection” offering.

To that end, our experts agreed that, while bundling is a great way to add value and make the menu presentation shorter, it’s not a great idea to get bundle-happy. Service contracts, in particular, are better left as standalone products, or bundled with just a prepaid maintenance plan, as opposed to making them part of a larger bundle.

Doug Frey, president and COO of Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate Dealer Services, put it best when he noted that, when done correctly, bundling can increase the perceived value of most ancillary products, but service contracts don’t need that boost — consumers already view this product as valuable. Instead, he notes, a better option is to use modern menu technologies to present a service contract paired with a strong ancillary product bundle.

“This gives the F&I manager the ability to still sell a service contract even if the customer does not desire the additional ancillary coverages,” Frey says. His company offers “Allstate Complete Protection,” which includes roadside assistance, key replacement, tire-and-wheel, paintless dent repair, windshield repair and interior repair.

And it’s not just the inherent value that makes bundling service contracts with other products problematic. It can be done, but as John Luckett, who serves as senior vice president of sales and marketing for Resource Agent Group in Chicago — whose company typically bundles tire-and-wheel, windshield repair and paintless dent repair — notes, this is where those state and local regulations often come into play. Even in states where it’s not illegal, bundling these types of products can actually make it more confusing to consumers, not less. He also cited GAP protection as another product that can be difficult to combine with other products.

Service contracts and GAP aside, Corbin says that trying to combine interior and exterior products into a single bundle can be a tough sell as well. Consumers see them as separate and may have a hard time making sense of bundles that include both types.

Frey pointed out that trying to combine products with overlapping coverages is another red flag for consumers, and can work against F&I managers. One example he gave was roadside assistance: If the service contract includes that benefit, trying to include a roadside product in another bundle would only cause confusion.

That said, he adds, Allstate has yet to launch an unsuccessful product combination. “The launch of our bundled products a few years ago has provided very favorable growth and customer acceptance.”

A Closer Look: The Sale

Once a dealer has found a product bundle that meets state regulations and promises broad appeal to their market, it’s time to make the sale. There are a number of articles dedicated to the best way to present F&I products; for our purposes, we’ll only be looking at the ease of selling a bundle versus selling a standalone product.

Lacour pointed out that selling a bundle offers several key benefits at first glance: The value proposition is far more easily defined for the consumer, it is much easier for F&I managers to demonstrate when they are showing how a set of products can offer complete protection, and because bundles are often condensed to a single form, it makes them far easier to administer.

Selling a bundle, Wanderon notes, really does benefit everyone in the product’s chain, which is, he believes, one of the reasons for their growing popularity. A few of the additional benefits he pointed out include reduced paperwork for the F&I manager, consumer and administrator; increased profits when combining high and low-use products together; a single admin fee for agents; a more complete product portfolio; and streamlined product presentations that get the consumer in and out faster.

And these benefits aren’t just true for finance deals, either. As Luckett notes, lease customers are usually more resistant to service contracts, but offering a bundled set of products designed to ensure there are no surprises at the end of the lease is a great way to increase penetration in a segment where VSC sales can be a more difficult sell.

The presentation, in particular, is one benefit that F&I managers, providers and consumers can all agree is better when it gets to the point and makes a case for the value quickly. Corbin points out that studies have proven that the less time a consumer spends in the F&I office, the more products they are likely to purchase. It might seem counterintuitive, but consumers will listen when an F&I manager makes a great case for the value of the product. But if they feel they are being pressured into a sale, they are more likely to shut down and may even back out of purchasing products they do see value in.

One way that works is that bundles allow the F&I manager to present a much wider range of benefits in a much shorter period of time — and it allows them to focus on the discount the consumer will receive for purchasing the bundle over those same products as standalone items, which just increases the value proposition further, says Frey. When F&I managers are freed from having to go over the benefits and value of each individual product in the menu, they can save a considerable amount of time.

“Bundling simplifies, streamlines and strengthens the presentation by taking it from a piecemeal presentation of several individual products, prices and contracts to a single presentation for a single price,” Lacour says. “As a result, bundling also improves penetrations over standalone products.”

But popularity doesn’t keep the dealership afloat, and at the end of the day, profit is what both dealers and providers need to be concerned with. Presented correctly, Lacour adds, bundles can help boost the dealership’s bottom line. He notes that consumers today are already familiar with the concept of bundling. They see it in their everyday lives in everything from the fast-food value menu to packages offered by their phone, cable and Internet providers. They already perceive greater value in bundles, making the job of the F&I manager that much easier.

But Frey cautions that is not always a good thing. He notes that the perception will be that the price of the bundle will be significantly less than the cost of the individual products would be. So while the dealership will see greater penetration, and will see some increase in profits from sales and reduced administration costs, it might not be as much of a boost as the dealer might be hoping for.

Overall, Price notes, the profit gains outweigh the potential pitfalls.

“If it’s all on one contract, that can save the dealer a little money, and the agent has the ability to make a little more commission than if they were trying to get the F&I manager to sell it separately,” she says. “And you’re only paying for one administration fee to process one piece of paper.”

A Closer Look: The Future

Are F&I product bundles here to stay? Kelly believes they are, and when considering the future of bundling, it’s important to recognize the fact that it’s not a completely new concept. She notes that her company has been packaging products this way for more than 10 years, although it wasn’t necessarily a popular option a decade ago.

So what changed? Kelly notes that they tried to bundle things too tightly in the past, making it a lost sale if a consumer only wanted some of the package, but not all of it. And when you add in the sheer volume of F&I products today versus 10 years ago, it’s much easier to make the case for bundles now and in the foreseeable future.

Wanderon agrees, noting that F&I menus are, by their very nature, a form of bundling, and that sales method isn’t going away anytime soon. He believes the concept of selling bundles will only gain in popularity as they continue to make it easier for F&I managers to demonstrate value and streamline the entire selling process. He notes that, bundling, like any F&I product or process, really comes down to profit: If the consumers give their approval by spending their dollars, the dealers will continue to use and expand upon the concept.

However, several of our experts note that it’s not an unlimited opportunity either. Corbin, in particular, says that he believes there is a tipping point where it will simply be trying to cram too many coverages onto a single form. At that point, bundling could become more of a problem than a solution.

Luckett notes that interest from federal regulators in the sale and pricing of F&I products could change the way bundles are created and presented. However, he adds, “As the industry, regulators and lenders grow and mature with this product, we may see some advancements that allow combinations of products we have not seen to date.”

Bundles will continue to grow and evolve as the products — and the F&I industry as a whole — continue to change. Regulations, pricing and the perceived value of bundled products are all factors that can have a lasting impact. But there is no denying the value bundling brings to the F&I office, or the selling power it can put in the hands of F&I managers.

“We do believe that product bundling will continue to gain favor as administrators strive to find ways to increase value and make F&I products easier to sell at the local level,” Wanderon notes. “Bundles initially saw slow adoption as dealers were concerned that the sale of one product instead of five would yield a lower F&I gross. However, the consumer popularity of the bundled products helped increase F&I penetration, so profits remained steady.”

By all accounts, as long as they continue to promote a strong bottom line and remain attractive to dealers, providers and administrators, F&I product bundles are here to stay.

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Dent Zone Forms New Product Division

IRVING, Texas — Dent Zone Companies announced the creation of AutoBodyguard Inc., a new division offering a complete line of automotive appearance programs and vehicle protection products.

The new brand will offer interior and exterior vehicle protection, as well as tire-and-wheel protection, windshield, automobile deductible reimbursement and paintless dent repair.

“The creation of this division puts us in a position to provide a comprehensive portfolio,” said Troy Good, Dent Zone president and CEO. “We are now able to offer a full suite of products designed to provide consumers with the best vehicle protection available while supporting dealers’ profitability objectives.”

In preparation for the launch, AutoBodyguard acquired Trident Protection Systems, one of the early pioneers in the use of nanotechnology for interior and exterior automotive protection products. AutoBodyguard now manufactures all chemicals for its protection products in its new, state-of-the-art facility in Irving, Texas.

Serving as president of the new division is John Martin, a 40-year industry veteran. He began his career working for his father’s company, which became a distributor for CalTex Protective Coatings before it was sold to the chemical provider. He held several leadership positions while with the company, including executive vice president of corporate development. He also served as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

“Trident was a great addition for us in many respects,” said Martin. “Not only did they have a loyal customer base with strong revenues, their nontoxic product formulations, particularly in nanotechnology used in exterior paint protection, have been consistently among the best in the industry.”

AutoBodyguard is currently developing an indirect distribution channel through top performing agents under the leadership of Christine DeGuglielmo, who serves as vice president of sales. DeGuglielmo brings more than 30 years of industry experience in automotive sales and F&I, including 14 years in the chemical protection business.

“We now have the right products to complete the AutoBodyguard brand and the right leadership in place to drive it,” said Good. “We are expecting growth in the next year to be exponential.”

In addition to the automotive industry, AutoBodyguard products will be available for the recreational vehicle and powersports marketplaces. For more, visit www.autobodyguard.com.

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Wise F&I Launches an Automotive Tire & Wheel Program

Wise F&I is expanding their product suite to include TIREWise, an automotive tire and wheel protection program. A tire and wheel protection program helps to cover consumers from the expense of road hazard damage to their tires and wheels (rims). Road hazard damage can be caused by hitting a pothole, running over a nail or hitting debris on the road. Any of these instances can cause expensive damage to the consumer’s tires and/or wheels. To help protect the consumer financially, TIREWise offers coverage for the tire and wheel, along with additional benefits including: mounting and balancing, 24 hour roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and trip interruption.

“By offering a tire and wheel protection program we will provide a beneficial product to the consumer for their vehicle, and also round out our product offerings for our agents, dealers and lender partners,” said Matt Croak, President, Wise F&I.

Wise F&I’s suite of products include: TIREWise, GAPWise, WiseCARE, THEFTWise, WiseTVP and KEYWise. All Wise F&I products are available for electronic contracting.

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Dent Wizard Adds Project Manager to Wheel Remanufacturing Team

St. LOUIS — Dent Wizard International has appointed Ben Ashby as project manager for the company’s growing wheel remanufacturing business.

In this newly-created role, Ashby will provide ongoing operational support and technical training for Dent Wizard’s wheel repair centers in St. Louis, Phoenix and New England. Ashby will work from Dent Wizard’s St. Louis headquarters, and report to Steve Carpenter, Dent Wizard’s director of operations.

Dent Wizard’s three wheel repair centers provide local, overnight services for the region’s auto dealerships, body shops and tire and wheel retailers, who otherwise are replacing alloy wheels with costly new wheels, or sending wheels out of town for service. The wheel repair centers’ route trucks make scheduled stops at auto repair operations in the region, or may be scheduled as needed through the dispatch service. Upon delivery to the Dent Wizard shop, a team of trained technicians goes to work to complete the repairs in the evening hours. In about 24 hours the wheels are delivered, repaired to factory specifications.

The wheel repair centers’ capabilities include refinishing, straightening, crack welding, powder coat finishing, CNC lathing, wheel polishing and custom coloring, a style trend that has grown in popularity in recent years. Various finishes of black, white and colors keyed to match a vehicle’s body paint are leading this trend. All repairs are done by Dent Wizard-trained technicians, and come with a lifetime workmanship guarantee.

Prior to joining Dent Wizard, Ashby worked for more than 10 years at B Auto Parts in the St. Louis area, where he managed all aspects of the business’s high-volume wheel refinishing shop.

“Dent Wizard has invested significant resources in equipment, facilities and trucks to launch our newest Wheel Repair Centers in St. Louis and New England,” Carpenter said. “But it requires smart, hard-working people to make it all work. Ben’s background and technical knowledge will be a tremendous asset to our new enterprise and our customers.”

“About 60% of new cars today have alloy wheels, and that number is expected to increase, so the industry will continue to see more alloy wheel repairs,” said Mike Black, Dent Wizard’s chief operating officer. “Ben has been on the front lines through this evolution in our industry, so we’re confident he will help Dent Wizard address this growing need for our customers.”

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