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Sept. 4, 2006 – S&W sees positive gains from F&I kiosk

September 4, 2006
Filed under Features

Additional finance options have helped S&W, an Alabama dealership involved in a year-long effort to modernize its business, build up its F&I business.
S&W recently had a F&I kiosk placed in its dealership. The kiosk, which is run by Dealers Finance Source, a Texas company, is a self-contained cubicle, equipped with a direct line telephone, computer with Internet connection, a printer/scanner and a printer. Once a customer has decided to purchase a vehicle and any accessories, they fill out an online form at the kiosk.
Before the kiosk was placed at S&W, the Jasper, Ala. dealership worked with Dealers Finance Source to find new lenders, of which about five were found, said Julia McCarthy, president of Motorcycle Management Consulting Services, Inc., the marketing company for Dealers Finance Source.
According to S&W employees, the additional lenders are helping secure more consumer loans.
“In addition to more loan approvals,” said Jim Wilson, Sr. of S&W, “customers end up buying everything under the sun — insurance, roadside assistance and other services. We never took much time to sell these services in the past.
“But just the other day, someone came in, picked out a motorcycle and ended up paying another 50 percent in add-on services.”
Stephanie Reed of S&W’s finance department said “over the years, most of our loans have come from OEM-sponsored finance programs, that means we’re dependent on GE or HSBC as primary lending sources. We also used a back-up source, American General, to look at loans that GE or HSBC might reject.”
Despite the positive results to date, Reed said there have been some initial downsides.
She says the local service provider doesn’t offer the necessary bandwidth to support the Internet-equipped kiosk, slowing the approval turnaround process. So S&W is installing a T1 line, giving them the bandwidth needed to fully support the kiosk.
To support this new customer service, ARI will be modifying the S&W Web site, to reflect the dealer’s ability to get loans for a wider range of customers.
A direct mail campaign also will be developed to draw attention to these services.
“We’ll be sending out MailSmart mailers to credit-challenged motorcycle owners throughout Alabama, making them aware of S&W’s expanded loan approval services,” says Nancy Krajcir Bennett, direct mail specialist for ARI. “Loan reject levels are very high, not just in Alabama, but nationwide. Being able to ferret out approval for people with collection histories, liens and even prior bankruptcies is a major selling advantage for S&W. psb

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