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Jul. 13, 2009 – ARI expands its product offerings

July 13, 2009
Filed under Features

By Karin Gelschus
Associate Editor
Aiming to help dealers sell more PG&A and whole products, ARI is now offering F&I products and services to dealers in the Northeast and eventually nationwide.
ARI is able to offer the products through its recent acquisition of F&I company Powersports Outsourcing Group. This acquisition came soon after the company acquired Channel Blade in mid-April, and Roy Olivier, president and CEO of ARI, says the company will continue to expand their product line this year.
The new products and services, including extended service agreement, GAP insurance and tire and wheel protection, are under the name F&I Smart.
“Now we can help the dealer not only with PG&A, but we can help them with selling finished goods as well,” said Olivier. “With the F&I acquisition, once that lead comes into that dealer, the F&I initiative is designed to help that dealer finance it and get it out the door.”
The company will focus its F&I services on powersports, marine and RV dealerships that don’t have a full-time in-house F&I department. But in the future, Olivier notes, the company plans to expand its products to dealers who do have a full-time F&I staff member.
“Initially we plan to be the outsourced partner for the mid-sized and small dealers to help them actually push that bike over the curb or push that boat into the water,” he said. “In the long term, we also want to have a service that will enable the larger dealer that may have his own F&I guy to provide that person with some tools to help him drive more revenue from that F&I transaction. As you know there are a significant number of buyers who want to buy a boat or a bike that need to qualify to make that transaction happen.”
Olivier referenced in a press release a survey reported by Powersports Business, stating that 52.8 percent of motorcycle buyers obtain financing, and some dealers are obtaining $500-$1,000 in additional revenue per unit sold with after-sale F&I products.
“Over 1.8 million new powersports units are sold every year,” he continued, “so the revenue potential, for both our partners and ARI, seems to be very strong. The marine and RV markets indicate the same type of need.”
As of now, the F&I products are only available to dealers in the Northeast, but Olivier told Powersports Business that ARI’s long-term plan is to make the products available nationwide.
It’s premature to say when that will happen, says Olivier. “We’re doing our next year planning now,” he noted, “so I’ll probably know the answer to that in about a month.”
Currently dealers can have a customer call an 800-number where they will then be connected with ARI’s business center.
“We’ll take that customer by the hand and lead them through the process,” explained Olivier. “Down the road we plan on offering a technology-enabled service of basically a software tool that will allow dealers to walk a customer through the F&I process and offer them various F&I products.”
In addition to F&I products, Olivier says ARI is constantly seeking other products to offer its dealers.
“As we look forward, ARI will continue to look for opportunities to help dealers sell finished goods and PG&A,” he said. “Those opportunities may be new products and services or may be an existing company that we compete with today that does something very similar to what we do, but we absolutely (are looking to) launch new products in our next fiscal year that are in line with helping dealers sell more products.”
ARI is looking forward to offering additional products to help dealers make more sales, says Olivier.
“We’re really excited about bringing this vision together of helping dealers sell more stuff,” he said. “Our entire focus is to help that dealer be successful and moving forward.
“We really think that Channel Blade and their products and their Footsteps Lead Generation product is in line with helping those dealers be more successful. We think the F&I Smart acquisition is really going to help us finance units and push bikes over the curb or boats into the water. We’re really excited about how those businesses are going to impact our business long term.”

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