Way back in 1971, C.P. Snow wrote about technology in the New York Times. He said, “Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.”
Many dealers are voicing that sentiment these days. Far too few have done anything about it. Some have learned to use computer software with skill. They use the apps on iPhones, iPads, and Blackberries. They have created an effective Web site. They use Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn for social networking. For others, these are merely words and technologies that test their ability to conduct both business and their private lives. Dealers, already feeling the brunt of the two-plus year recession and massive changes in the car industry, are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to not only keep up, but to even remain in the playing field.
Why should dealers bother with such things? Isn’t the old way good enough? Nope!
Customers who always shopped on the lot are now shopping on the Internet before they take a step toward a dealership. They’ve researched every model in their price range and with the features they want. They’ve read a dozen articles about how to get the best deal. They’ve become more savvy than many sales people hired by dealerships; they know their credit score; they know where they can find the best price on insurance, window tinting, undercoating, you name it. Everything once sold to them by a finance officer from the menu is for sale on the Internet.
Are you one of the dealerships where handwringing has become a daily pastime? Have you taken a close look at your bottom line? Have you noticed what would happen to your finance portfolio if you removed your sub-vent rated and nonprime customers? Have the numbers of your prime-financing customers dwindled to an all-time low? Perhaps you haven’t seen the drop in your captive financing yet, but beware, it’s coming just as surely as the first snowstorm.
Snow was right, back in 1971! The Internet can either become a beacon for drawing in more satisfied customers to your dealership and vastly increase your bottom line, or it can stab you in the back. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. How?
Statistics show that 80% of car customers go online before they make the decision to buy and before they come to your dealership. What are they researching? Brands, models, features and, most of all, prices. Most of all, prices. The majority of Americans in today’s economy are deeply concerned about their budget. They have a fixed amount to spend on a car payment and all the other expenses involved in owning it. The vehicle they choose must fit within that fixed figure. They cannot afford to buy on whim or to make a careless mistake. They won’t take the chance of being bamboozled into buying things they don’t want, don’t need, and can’t afford by a fast-talking sales or finance manger
Where do these savvy customers get their information? One of their first sources is Edmunds, the friendly consumer-shopping guide. Edmunds has never been and still isn’t the dealer’s friend. Edmunds does whatever is necessary to achieve the sale on vehicles and products from the Internet shopper… and then refers these buyer to specific retailers to obtain a fee! Banks. Finance companies. Insurance companies. You name it.
Don’t let them get a strangle hold on your customers! If you haven’t already checked this article on Edmunds.com, perhaps you should do so right now!
Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager In the Back Rooms of America’s Car Dealerships By Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor and Nick James
“Congratulations, you’re getting a great deal!” the car salesman says, pumping your hand. “Let’s sign the paperwork and you’ll be on your way in your new car!”
At first you’re relieved – the negotiating is over. But then the salesman walks you down a back hallway to a stark, cramped office with “Finance and Insurance” on the door. Inside, a man in a suit sits behind the desk. He greets you with a faint smile on his face. An hour later you walk out in a daze: The whole deal was reworked, your monthly payment soared and you bought products you didn’t really want.
What happened to your great deal?
You just got hit by the “F&I Man,” also called the finance officer. He waits in the back of every dealership for unsuspecting customers so he can increase the profit for the dealership and boost his commission.
In this four-part series, written by veteran auto finance manager Nick James, you will learn the F&I man’s tricks and how to avoid them. When you’re done, you’ll be ready to safely navigate this crucial part of the car buying process, and the F&I man will never work his “magic” on you again.
- The Editors at Edmunds.com
Are you still ushering your customers into the office of your “F&I Man”? No? You have a Web site? You update it once a month? You have a tech-savvy employee who checks your e-mail messages every morning? BUT… how would you answer these questions?
When your potential customers come to your Web site, what resources do you have available to steer them away from online financing? Do you have a quick reference guide for their buying the vehicle that fits their budget and your financing terms? Is the information presented in a complete, forthright and friendly manner? Does it enlist confidence and trust? Will readers feel they’d get a no-nonsense financing deal from you?
If these online customers make a call to ask a few questions, does your finance manager answer them, or resort to the former game of “I can only reveal those options when you come in for an interview”? Does he or she become discouraged by the process of reviewing transactions over the phone? Does your Internet manager have direct access to your finance manager at all times; avoid posting rates and product pricing on your Web site; work well with your sales and finance departments? Have you utilized the I-chat technology now readily available to instantly answer your customers’ finance questions? How many phone calls to your finance department go unanswered on a daily basis? How are online customer calls being handled in your F&I office?
Reducing your finance penetration will not only effect the overall performance of your dealership, but will negatively effective your reinsurance investment. If your customers are financing with someone else, they could also be buying their other products. Take a long and serious look at the insurance products you sell, the agent who works with you, and the changes that must be made to keep you competitive with the technology available to all your customers. You must remain competitive in products offered, their quality, and their prices. Should you be considering a new partner?
What new and creative processes are you providing your current and potential customers within your Web site? Have you considered presenting your menu as a virtual finance manager? Do you have WebEx with a preloaded menu available for review with your customers whether they are onsite in your finance office or sitting in the comfort of their home? Why not?
An upfront sales approach is the best way to reestablish a thriving business in today’s technological world. Teenagers and college students are facile in the use of every conceivable tool involving the information highway. They are your future customers. They will find Edmunds and every comparable site and use the information to their advantage. Provide them with a dozen reasons to buy their vehicle and products from your dealership. Ensure them that financing their dream car with you is the only sensible choice.
Although computer use and Internet technology has been around for several decades, it has taken a giant leap in recent years as more and more consumers realize they can save themselves time and money by letting their fingers do the walking. Another great American journalist, Sydney J. Harris, who wrote for the Chicago Daily News and later the Chicago Sun-Times, died in the late 80s; but, he was savvy about where technology would take us. He said, “The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.”
We’ve reached that point. Where in the world is your finance penetration? It’s time to find out! Do it… today.
The Government has announced a new initiative to help diversify business finance which will be led by UK industry experts from both the business and finance sectors.
UK businesses still rely heavily on bank funding to help finance their business activities even though there are many alternative sources of funding available to them in today’s ever changing financial marketplace.
The Government wants to ensure, in light of recent and current banking reforms, that the flow of finance to businesses is maintained. Alternative sources of finance will be crucial to help businesses deliver the wider economic growth the UK economy needs.
The panel of experts will seek to establish a framework of alternative finance sources by working with businesses and business investors, financial institutions and providers of alternative finance to coordinate and facilitate the availability of funding that businesses need.
Even though there has been a recorded increase in new lending from the largest banks this year many businesses are still unhappy with bank lending levels and how they have been treated by their banks.
Tighter lending criteria, non-renewal of overdraft facilities and poor communication by the banks are the common problems cited by businesses as making their funding objectives difficult to achieve.
Without the finance they need, UK businesses struggle to survive and grow, and so the UK economy does the same. This is why the Government is not only introducing schemes to increase bank lending but is also keen to encourage as much competition in the financial market as possible and provide a wide range of alternative sources of finance to UK businesses.
There is already a wide range of alternative finance sources available to businesses.
One of the biggest barriers to increasing the take up of these sources of finance is simply general awareness. New and emerging providers of alternative financial products do not have the branch infrastructure that makes for the efficient and effective distribution of their products.
The other important factor here is that many owners and managers of small and medium sized businesses, which are the backbone of the UK economy, are unaware of the range of alternative finance available and where to find it.
New methods of communication are required and it is hoped this will be a key objective of the Government’s initiative.
Invoice finance is one of the most popular options in the alternative finance portfolio and has grown over the last fifteen years from about 13,000 companies using it in the UK to over 50,000 companies now.
This extremely flexible method of business finance advances funds against unpaid sales invoices. There are variations within the invoice finance family of products which includes invoice factoring and invoice discounting.
The invoice finance lenders will advance up to 95% against a company’s unpaid sales invoices and use the sales ledger as security by taking assignation of the invoice and so the outstanding debt is effectively owned by them.
When the invoice is paid by the company’s customer the invoice finance company will pay over the balance of the invoice that has not been funded after deducting their fees. There is usually a charge for the facility and an interest charge for the amount of funding advanced.
One of the main benefits of invoice finance is that the facility will grow as the business grows thus making it a very effective method of funding working capital.
Additional effort in managing one’s personal finances will result to a more positive usage of personal resources. With attainable, realistic goals, ones financial standing will progress in no time at all. However, for the part of the individual concerned, this calls for proper planning and monitoring. There is also a need to assess at some point to see if the goals set are being met or further intervention is needed to alleviate the financial condition.
Regular household cash flow
After Budget cash or net flow
Regular household cash flow is what remains after the expected yearly expenses are subtracted from the expected yearly regular income. After budget cash or net flow is simply what one ends up with after subtracting regular household liabilities from the known assets. The part of the regular income that does not go towards normal expenses is a very important resource that can be diverted towards other personal financial goals. A balance sheet should be able to determine the net worth before proceeding to plan further on how to save enough for bigger and more important purchases.
Factors to be considered if 50% net increase is desired:
Savings yield- savings + interest gained
Outstanding student loans
It only goes to say that when liabilities decrease, a person’s net worth increases along with it. The number one advice for people with plans to progress financially is to avoid taking juicy bank loans on offer as they are ever-potent dangers to one’s credit score specially when the interest pile up. Recovery from debts will be a much needed boost to personal finance. The more payables are settled, the fewer the liabilities are and this carries a positive reflection on one’s balance sheet and also his credit standing.
Personal investments make up most of a person’s net worth and thus it is a perpetually good move to gain as much valuable assets as a person possibly can in the course of his lifetime. This is not to say that forethought should not be employed here but the contrary. Investing by buying up profitable assets should always be preceded by careful analysis, so that a purchase will actually add vigor to one’s portfolio. The general trend is that if you are the risk avoidant type of investor high risk investments are avoided. These are properties which have value that changes with the ebb and flow of time like real estate, precious metals like gold and other physical goods that are known to have volatile values.
The riskier among us, those whose mettle are undeniably more resistant to fear easily trade in stocks and other financial instruments of our time. In this type of assets, the rule goes that the higher the risk, the higher the possible gains. This kind of investments no doubt needs to be studied and studied again due to the very nature of it to avoid excessive losses and to catch gains when and where they are likely to fall.
As savings is an important and integral part of a person’s net worth, due research is called for to yield the names of institutions that offer better products or simply better rates for one’s hard earned dollars. For example, American soldiers have the option and the privilege to take advantage of the DOD Savings Deposit program that has very high interest rates at 10%.
Savings accounts and CDs serve you in two ways: firstly by increasing your total net worth and secondly by giving a much needed buffer zone to your personal finance portfolio, as seen by prevailing trends all over. The reason for this is because such instruments are federally insured and grows at a steady, favorable rate every year.
One thing that has perennially damaged net worth are student loans as they can persist a long time after a person has graduated and worked. To counter the negative impact of this, one effective practice is to take advantage of seasonal tax breaks. With American opportunity tax credit alone, an individual can save as much as $2,500 and those who are still studying should altogether shun away from private student loans in favor of federally funded loans as these carry a lower, or fixed rates in general.
Most effective ways to maximize cash flow:
Highly informed financial decisions
Making and adhering to a budget
Controlling impulsive buying
Putting Cost cutting measures in place
Smart financial choices can sometimes spell the difference between ruin and progress. For instance, there is a choice between buying a house which becomes unaffordable later on as opposed to renting a modest accommodation. If the sale price of the house is proven to be a figure greater than 20, when the actual sale price is divided by the yearly rental, then you would be wiser if you rent. Managing personal finance need not be a daunting task; it only requires patience and practice.
Where you can cut costs:
Cut back on unnecessary expenditure
Cooking instead of dining out
Look into car insurance cost cutters
Collecting and using coupons
Buying wholesale instead of retail wherever applicable
There is absolutely no shame in using coupons and the benefits are tremendous, it can even get to be a habit. Why pay the full price when a little vigilance in cutting and saving coupons goes a long way? If no printed material is available from where to glean coupons, the internet is always there, the perfect place to search for printable coupons.
Cook at home and cook in batches. Then freeze for later meals. Have the due diligence to look after leftovers and you will probably save a fortune in take-out budget. There is no shame in keeping eatable food and it does wonders to a family or individual’s food budget.
Cut down on company offers, like phone packages, cable or internet packages, whatever has hidden charges, zero in on them and ask to get only the basic service, pay only for what you actually need and use. The extra features cost and pile up in the long run.
Carpooling is also one way to save, and if you must absolutely drive, drive safely to avoid charges. These small things all contribute towards managing one’s finance in a sane and productive way. And the habits that are changed also stick, so it is best to make sure that you make changes for the better.
How to estimate: Tools in Determining Worth
Simple Net worth calculator
Retirement calculator- many are downloadable
Mortgage rate calculator, again downloadable
Spouse or partner income calculator for multiple income households
Loan calculator, for free from many sites
Currency converter- already in wide use everywhere
Home budget calculator- a standard for many housewives
FICO score range tool- again available for free online
Student loan calculator- for up to date interest rates
These personal finance calculators are absolutely necessary when strategizing and setting up your long and short term goals, tax payments and schedules, mortgage resolutions and other financial steps. The closer the estimates are to real figures, the closer you will be to realizing your plans and these depend heavily on calculators.
Personal finance is simply net worth, cash flow, the relevant planning, savings, investment instruments, budget or allocations and cost cutting. If effort is made to understand the concepts in theory and applied wisely, a personal balance sheet and credit score will improve continuously beyond recovery and go well into growth.
By examining this new Audi A7 Sportback, it can be said that this new model has undergone some serious changes. This model will consist of five doors in its exterior body. This new car is made much lower and wider in terms of its shape and proportion.
Aerodynamics has been incorporated in its outer body so an improvement in its performance and efficiency can be expected. The grille has been custom modified and features a new design.
Similarly, some serious changes can be found in the interior cabin of this model. The MMI knobs in this cabin are going to be changed to touchscreen interface. The steering wheel will be modified with an in-dash video monitor.
The interior cabin of this model will be made spacious and roomy with ergonomic arrangement of seats, and speaking of seats, they are going to be more comfortable and luxurious materials will be used for its upholstery including natural leather.
The dashboard will be increased in its length, lots of aluminium inserts are featured in this interior cabin. The horizontal lines appearing on its outer body will also be incorporated in its interior cabin.
For its engine, a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine will be used which is going to deliver 252 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. This model might also have the option of a 3.0 liter engine which has its capacity to produce 350 horsepower and an equal amount of torque.
This model is also going to compete with some of the toughest competitors like BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLS. So this is the general description about this 2017 Audi A7 Sportback Review.
2017 Audi A7 Release Date
The prologue concept of this Audi A7 had been revealed at the LA Auto Show in 2014, and now this concept will be turned into production models. In the US, this new Audi A7 Sportback will be made available in several Audi dealerships.
The test results of the prototype of this model have shown great results, and Audi plans to release this model as soon as possible. So this new car is probably going to be launched in the last quarters of 2016 or Audi may even release this model during the early start of 2017.
2017 Audi A7 release date is not officially confirmed by the company, and it is subjected to be changed later. It is also possible that this model will be released at the same time with other new models of Audi.
2017 Audi A7 Price
It is said that this new Audi A7 is going to be priced like its first generation model. Of course, the price of this model is going to vary with the additional features and different engine options.
This new Audi A7 will be having $65,000 as its starting price which will have the V6 unit. The turbocharged engine model will have a higher price. So these are the 2017 Audi A7 Price.