Podcast Ally All Ears | What rising EV sales will mean for the F&I office in the long run
Gabe Garroni, senior vice president of insurance sales for Ally, explains how sales and F&I can address customer concerns about electric vehicles and promote services and products that protect electric vehicles at the dealership.
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Jackie Charniga: Hi everyone, this is Jackie Charniga with Automotive News and welcome to the All Ears Podcast. This podcast is sponsored by Ally Financial and produced by Automotive News Content Studio. In each episode, we cover topics important to automotive retail executives. We’re calling on Ally leaders to share their expertise and knowledge to help dealers and others navigate transformational changes in the industry successfully. Today we meet Gabe Garroni, Senior Vice President of Insurance Sales for Ally. We discuss ways sales and F&I could address customer concerns about electric vehicles and promote services and products that protect electric vehicles at the dealership. Hi Gabe. Thank you very much for taking the time.
Gabe Garroni: Thanks for having me Jackie. It’s a pleasure to be here.
JC: Automakers will launch a slew of new electric vehicle models over the next few years. Researchers say the next wave of electric vehicle buyers will be different from the early adopters already in the market. These new EV buyers will turn to dealerships for more advice on buying and owning an EV. How might an F&I office prepare to answer questions and provide assistance to these new buyers, particularly on how to consider service contracts and F&I products for electric vehicles and any potential concerns regarding depreciation ?
GG: This is certainly something Jackie has been thinking about for some time as you watch the proliferation of electric vehicles entering the market and growing. Early adopters would certainly behave in a way as we move into a wider spectrum of consumers. I think what we’re going to see and what dealers are going to see is they’re going to behave the same as our ICE customers in that it’s still a mode of transportation, it’s still my family’s vehicle, for example. I still have concerns about the mechanical well-being of the vehicle, resale value of the vehicle, total loss potentials. When you look at the range of products offered today, they still fit that consumer very well. The fact that it is an electric vehicle does not materially change it. But what I will say is that it’s important that we understand the subtle nuances and differences in what those customer concerns might be beyond regular shipping. The first thing that comes to mind is range anxiety and certainly the various technological systems, infotainment systems and connectivity of an electric vehicle. You will find that the market will react and that, for example, Ally has continued to offer a range of products dedicated to electric vehicles to meet these specific needs.
JC: When it comes to the needs of electric vehicles, some say it’s less maintenance for some parts of the vehicle, but they’ll potentially need whole new types of services, like battery maintenance. . How might current products change or evolve as EV penetration increases? And do you see any new F&I services or products on the horizon in an electric future?
GG: For now, I can tell you that we have just implemented a car maintenance contract designed just for electric vehicles. It discusses battery coverage that could extend beyond the manufacturer’s warranty as well as the vehicle’s propulsion systems and engines that make them unique to ICE vehicles. With regard to additional coverage and services, it is true that maintenance will be different. You certainly wouldn’t sell an oil change to an electric vehicle customer, for example. They don’t need it, but these vehicles will still need regular maintenance. It is important that we maintain our vehicles. You look at filter changes, other fluids, tires, brakes, suspension systems, these are all services that dealerships will make available to their customers. Early research also shows that EV customers are more likely to return to their selling dealership or manufacturer’s dealership for these services compared to independent repair facilities. I think there’s actually an opportunity to engage with those customers and make sure they understand what’s available at the dealership and what’s required of those vehicles.
JC: In the vein that customers will take these vehicles with more complexity, EV owners, as you mentioned, are more interested in returning to the original dealership for maintenance and care. And I’m interested in expanding on what you just said about how dealerships can leverage that fact with their customers, especially when it comes to emphasizing to VE customers the importance of tracking maintenance and maintain good service records. I’m interested in what you think dealerships should be telling these customers, especially in terms of fighting depreciation and maintaining this complex version of their car.
GG: Going back to my earlier statement that you’re going to see a lot of…we’re going beyond early adopters and the interesting thing about early adopters is that they tend to be experts in what they adopt. They are very interested, they are tech savvy. But as you grow into consumers who are willing to look at electric vehicles as vehicles become more affordable, and maybe you have those customers who don’t necessarily research as much, it’s important that we help educate our customers as to what these differences are. It starts at the dealership. It starts with the dealership staff, being a student of experience, being a customer ourselves, understanding at our own pace, how their maintenance schedules differ and how our particular dealership can deliver these services exclusively, expertly . I really think the main benefit is being good stewards of that experience and making sure our customers are taken care of. They may not even understand the questions to ask, so we have to be that student first, educating ourselves first so that we can then educate our client.
JC: How might dealership sales teams and F&I in particular approach this thinking in terms of proactively collaborating on customer concerns?
GG: When you step back and look at the products offered in F&I, it’s an insurance product and insurance is really just a way to address the kind of underlying risks and concerns that I have as a consumer. It can be financial risks, a risk of not being able to use something. When you think of your home insurance or other types of insurance policies, it’s the same concept. I will continue to insist that it is not radically different for electric vehicles. I always have three main types of risk. I have an associated credit risk in the event of a total loss. If my vehicle is a total loss and I still owe money in the form of a loan, there is a risk and there is a gap product that deals with that risk. There is a mechanical breakdown or failure to keep the vehicle running as it was designed and that’s where your vehicle’s service contracts and all wheel protection products come into play. there are other risks associated with the appearance of the vehicle that count for depreciation and there are a multitude of products. As we evolve into a broader offering of vehicles themselves, as we move into a broader consumer base that varies from early adopters, we will continue to learn and we will continue to adapt to these customers by offering the right range of products, sets of products suited to their particular fields. As an administrator, we do the same. As we gather more performance information on the performance of these products, we will also continue to evolve in the coverage we offer.
JC: That’s it for this episode of the All Ears podcast. Many thanks to Gabe for providing this information on behalf of Ally and Automotive News Content Studio, thanks for listening. Advertisement: Want to take a tour of your previous business goals? Ally has the resources and tools to help your dealership succeed with dedicated teams of underwriters and account managers, customized F&I solutions, and comprehensive training courses. Ally can help your business crush every turn. Ready to start? Contact your local Ally account manager today.
Advertising: Want to browse your previous business goals? Ally has the resources and tools to help your dealership succeed with dedicated teams of underwriters and account managers, customized F&I solutions, and comprehensive training courses. Ally can help your business crush every turn. Ready to start? Contact your local Ally account manager today.