General Motors is launching F&I (Finance & Insurance) products, such as extended-service contracts, tire-and-wheel coverage and GAP policies carrying the names of its four North American brands — Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. The automaker has begun rolling out the new products using a pilot program at its 200 dealership in Ohio in May, and plans to launch them nationally by the end of 2013, according to Steve Hill, vice president of customer care and aftersales for GM North America.
GM Financial field representatives has been tasked with introducing the F&I products to dealers and their F&I personnel, while GM’s customer care and aftersales department is responsible for marketing and managing the program, according to a GM spokesperson speaking with Automotive News.
In launching its own F&I programs, General Motors is joining rival automakers and their captive finance arms that already offer similar products bearing the name of the brand/automaker, and customers usually regard such offerings as more trustworthy and more valuable, which also rings true for other companies. For instance, Allstate reported sales increases after replacing its CarMor brand with the more widely-known Allstate brand in 2011.
GM’s new F&I products will compete directly with those from Ally (formerly GMAC), which offers extended-service contracts under the GM Protection Plan brand that it licenses from The General, and to which it holds rights until November 2016, according to an Ally spokesperson. Outside of extended-service contracts, Ally’s Auto Dealer Products & Services unit offers prepaid maintenance, GAP, lease wear-and-tear coverage, tire-and-wheel, anti-theft protection, appearance protection, and dent-repair.
GM’s new branded products utilize a unit of AmTrust Financial Services as administrator and for backing the products’ insurance. GM’s products will be available for new cars as well as used vehicles, even those that aren’t made by GM, with the products using the same internal system for paperwork and for reporting claims. For non-GM used vehicles, and for models from the discontinued brands of Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer, GM offers a protection plan using the MyAuto brand.
The GM Authority Take
Yet more proof that GM is doing its best to offer a suite of properly- and congruently-branded services in F&I — whether it’s with the service/warranty products or with loans on financing or leasing via GM Financial. The strategy will likely pay off for The General — as it allows it to profit from each and every customer touchpoint while closing the loop on offering a unified customer experience and a simplified process for the dealer.
In addition, all of GM’s recent moves in the F&I field really put its former captive finance arm and partner Ally Financial at a disadvantage, which is already having its fair share of problems. Poor Ally.