As 2013 gets under way, here are five F&I trends that experts say merit watching in the months ahead. The last two, greater volume and sharper competition, began in 2012 but are expected to accelerate as the year progresses.
Auto dealers in markets with large Hispanic populations learned long ago that they often need to communicate with customers in Spanish. But the growing economic influence of Hispanic consumers in other markets means more dealerships must develop that capability.
Credit unions are regaining share in auto lending. During the recession and credit freeze, credit unions gained share when banks and even some captive finance companies pulled back on auto lending. Credit unions lost share when the captives and banks came back.
It's no accident that BMW Group Financial Services is an early mover in e-contracting and the use of iPads in the F&I office, and also No. 1 in dealer satisfaction,. So says Shaun Bugbee, vice president of sales and marketing at the captive finance company, based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
Trying to build momentum behind the midcycle freshening of its core compact car, Honda is launching the Civic with a new advertising campaign for the third time in 20 months. This time, the campaign's focus is on Honda's quest for continuous improvement.
David Munson, engineering dean at the University of Michigan, lets his hair down in this rap holiday greeting. He also touts his students' quests to tackle some of the most pressing problems of the day, including designing better vehicles and developing fuels of the future.
Once considered a risky bet, Romanian automaker Dacia has become Renault's global profit machine. Europeans think of Renault's Dacia lineup as cheap, entry-level models that compete with used cars for sales.
Sales of new autos, a bright spot for the U.S. in 2012, will grow further this year as an improving economy and demand for pickups and for mid-sized cars boosts registrations 6.6 percent, according to R.L. Polk & Co. About 15.
Hyundai Motor and smaller affiliate Kia Motors forecast their slowest sales growth in seven years as a slowing global economy and strengthening won saps demand. The two companies plan combined sales to rise 4.1 percent to 7.
Until last year, I had not driven a modern Dacia model nor felt any compelling reason to do so. However, the huge sales success of the Duster SUV encouraged me to try one of the models made by Renault's low-cost subsidiary.