F&I Lessons From Luxury Captives

canstockphoto28215906Customer service counts, no matter where you fall on the credit spectrum.

However, it’s no secret that luxury customers expect first-class treatment when shopping for a car, and consumers expect that same treatment from captive finance company Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA, according to Vice President Brian Fulton.

“From a luxury customer standpoint, [consumer] expectations are very high, especially coming into a Mercedes-Benz dealership,” Fulton told Auto Finance News. “I would say their expectations are higher than going into any other dealership – the level of service, the quality of the product – and I can tell you that they expect the very best service from the captive finance company of Mercedes-Benz.”

When dealing with consumers mainly in the prime end of the credit spectrum, time is money. Speed of decisioning is a priority for MBFS consumers and dealers, Fulton said. That’s not a new phenomenon, he said, but it’s still important.

To that end, MBFS aims to have a decision on 90% of all credit applications in less than 30 minutes, according to Fulton. In fact, he said the average turn time is about eight minutes, he said.

However, at Porsche Financial Services Inc., super prime credit scores don’t always guarantee a faster turnaround during the application process, according to Ross Dupper, the captive’s president and chief executive.

“In the case of Porsche, our customers are prime customers, and they have good credit profiles, [but] often times their credit background and their financial position are a little more complicated,” Dupper told AFN. “They’re self-employed, investors, they own multiple businesses, and as a result of that, their credit decision needs to be reviewed.”

For example, Dupper said, the captive reviews “a lot” of consumers that own more than one car already, or maybe many more. That potentially could mean $200,000 or more of credit outstanding, which requires “a little closer review,” he said.

“But the key for that, from our standpoint – and I think what the dealers are the most satisfied with – is if you do a full credit review, on average, we still get a response back to them in sort of the 15- to 20-minute window,” he said.

Pg. 2: Leasing — Big Business

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