F&I roundup: Darwin Automotive, JM&A Group ramp up complimentary services


Two F&I product providers began the workweek with offers to help cash-strapped dealerships with finance office resources for little to no cost.

In separate announcements made on Monday morning, JM&A Group said it is bringing the Virtual F&I playbook, model and strategy to all of its existing dealer customers across the country.

Meanwhile, Darwin Automotive announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous requests from its dealership partners and OEMs for help, it will be providing its Virtual Deal Maker tool for free to its existing digital retailing customers nationwide for the life of their agreement.

“Auto dealerships need help,” Darwin Automotive chief executive officer Phillip Battista said in a news release.

Darwin Automotive recapped that its Virtual Deal Maker tool can enable dealership personnel located anywhere in the world to virtually “desk” their online consumers, conducting multiple deals and options while the customer is online. This functionality can enable the online consumer to interact anywhere and at any time with the dealership, just as if they were in front of the dealership’s employees.

In just seconds, Darwin Automotive explained the dealership’s sales team can view multiple finance companies, programs and other valuable items including dealer cash and front and back end profits. The company insisted this process can enable store personnel to properly desk the deal virtually with their customers and efficiently close transactions.

 Battista emphasized that Darwin Automotive’s tools “are uniquely positioned” to provide assistance to dealerships that are attempting to retail vehicles amid stay-at-home orders and other pandemic-related challenges.

“We decided to provide this to our customers at no charge as its vital that our dealership partners can virtually transact profitably right now. Consumers will want to engage in a ‘contactless way’ for the foreseeable future, and dealerships will need to transact business virtually to meet this demand,” Battista said.

“Some providers are offering tools free for two months, or at 50% off for April and May. But dealerships will need these tools for the long haul, and we didn’t want our partners to go months down the road to suddenly be getting a bill for $1,200 to $2,000 a month after the ‘free period’ expired. So, we are giving this tool to our partners for free for the life of their agreements as we feel it is an investment in their future and ours,” Battista added.

Darwin Automotive currently operates in all 50 states with more than 5,800 dealerships subscribed to its programs. Darwin delivered 504,000 deals on its platform last month and is on track to deliver 6.5 million units for the year.

For more information or to schedule a product demonstration, call (732) 781-9010 or visit darwinautomotive.com.

More details from JM&A Group

Since 2018, JM&A Group pointed out that it has been vigorously piloting and testing Virtual F&I with five different dealership groups in the market. The company said JM&A’s Virtual F&I has supported more than 1,000 virtual deals while maintaining profitability per vehicle retailed and selling an increased number of products per deal.

While this new model has been an evolution and a learning process, the company noted that dealers who have partnered with JM&A have seen great gains both from a business perspective and in customer satisfaction during the pilot phase.

For years, JM&A Group acknowledged the changing demands of automotive customers have propelled dealerships and their service providers to implement faster, more streamlined processes to complete the sales transaction. With JM&A’s Virtual F&I process, dealers can receive:

• Best practices on how to facilitate the F&I transaction using video communication technology, regardless of where the consumer and F&I manager are physically located.

• A comprehensive Virtual F&I playbook, including process maps, rollout plans, thought tracks, technical requirements and other resources to support the implementation and management of Virtual F&I at scale.

• Strategies on how to utilize Virtual F&I to complete more F&I transactions and outperform industry standards.

“We view Virtual F&I as the long-term solution for dealers interested in making an investment in the development of an omnichannel approach to vehicle sales,” JM&A Group president Forrest Heathcott said in a news release.

“Now, more than ever, our goal is to simplify the F&I process, making it more efficient and profitable for our dealer customers while enhancing the digital experience for the consumer,” Heathcott continued.

JM&A added that its field team of trained subject matter experts are prepared to help bring a Virtual F&I process to its dealer customers so they can be at the forefront of digital retail, provide a modern customer experience and increase profitability.

“Given the environment we find ourselves in with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to accelerate our efforts and feel it’s important to help dealers deliver F&I virtually so they can serve their customers as best they can,” Heathcott said.

For more information about JM&A Group’s products and services, call (800) 553-7146 or www.jmagroup.com.

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