Please give us a short background to your company and the broad product categories that you support and sell (VSC, GAP, Theft, etc.)
Safe-Guard Products International, LLC offers exceptional F&I products, effective income development and unparalleled customer service. By incorporating extensive industry knowledge and a client-first approach, Safe-Guard has become the leading provider of F&I products in the automotive aftermarket industry while also offering a wide array of products for the RV/trailer, marine and powersport segments.
With a complete product portfolio and sensible technology solutions, top OEMs, dealers and agencies choose Safe-Guard more than any other provider. Safe-Guard’s product suite includes GAP, tire & wheel, theft protection, lease wear & tear, paintless dent repair, windshield protection, roadside assistance, identity theft protection, key replacement, planned maintenance, interior & exterior protection, mechanical protection and emergency notification. The company is also a leader in e-business solutions, menu software, training and income development.
There are many different types of products in the Theft category. Which ones do you support and why?
Safe-Guard’s theft protection product suite includes window etching and parts labeling. Safe-Guard is also the administrator for the guarantee benefit for LoJack.
Safe-Guard’s theft protection programs help to prevent vehicle theft and aid in recovery in the event a theft does occur. Most importantly, the product suite assists in the financial trauma that is caused as a result of a theft.
Window etching permanently “etches” the vehicle’s windows with identification numbers while parts marking permanently marks the vehicle’s body parts (i.e., trunk, hood and doors) with labels that leave indelible identification numbers that can only be seen with ultra-violet light. In the powersport segment, Safe-Guard also utilizes DataDots, which are tiny microscopic discs (microdots) that contain unique identifiers. The identification numbers from these products are tied to the vehicle and registered in a national database, which can be scanned by law enforcement officials to trace the vehicle’s ownership. In addition to aiding in recovery, these visible markings deter thieves because “chop shops” do not want a vehicle with marked parts.
Safe-Guard’s theft protection programs also offer a benefit in the event the vehicle is stolen and not recovered to help with expenses not normally covered by insurance companies. Payoff deficiencies, deductibles and replacement vehicle costs, such as down payments, sales taxes and miscellaneous fees can be covered by the financial benefit.
Which type of Theft products do you not support and why?
GPS has never shown any traction in the F&I office. In addition, since alarms have become standard equipment on many vehicles, it has become a duplicate product from the F&I point of view. At Safe-Guard, we believe in products that allow the dealership to get into the theft protection business with little cost, which means products that are easy to install – ones that don’t require extensive rewiring or that could create mechanical complications during the installation.
In which circumstances do you encourage dealers to sell each type of Theft product?
Safe-Guard trainers and representatives encourage dealerships to etch or mark their entire inventories through a lot program. It is easy to pre-install window etching or parts marking on every vehicle. Every customer (new, used, finance, cash and lease) should be offered theft protection. And with etching or marking, the theft protection program can be presented as a simple transfer of protection from the dealership to the consumer. However, it is crucial for dealerships to fully disclose to consumers that this product is optional.
How does the future look for Theft products in the F&I Suite and which type of Theft products do you believe will be the most successful?
Safe-Guard was the innovator of window etching as a theft protection product and is still responsible for the majority of the theft protection programs being sold in F&I offices today.
At the end of the day, dealerships want to offer theft protection for the lowest investment possible, which means not getting the service department involved. Etching and marking theft protection products are easy to install.
With the added financial benefit in the event a vehicle is not recovered, these products offer tremendous value to the customer. He or she is in a good position to purchase his or her next vehicle. This in turn creates the opportunity for great loyalty to the dealership.
In the marketplace, theft protection has made a comeback over the last five or six years. Among Safe-Guard’s products, theft protection is third in penetration, rivaling tire & wheel protection.
Because this product not only offers consumers peace of mind when purchased but also does such an extensive job of taking care of the customer in the event a theft would occur, theft protection will continue to be a successful core F&I product for years to come.