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  • Over two-thirds (69%) of customers agreed that being offered a finance and insurance product makes them more likely to buy a car
  • Nearly nine in ten retailers (89%) who sell warranties believe it is a ‘must have’ for vehicle buyers
  • With the average age and mileage of vehicles on UK roads increasing, this signals a real need to protect the mechanical elements of each vehicle
  • Car dealers need to be maximising all sales opportunities post lockdown, with more warranty awareness needed.

With the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) calling on the government to allow car showrooms to open before April, WMS Group is urging car dealers to maximise the expected post-lockdown sales spike, by considering the added revenue streams finance and insurance (F&I) protection products can bring.

Last month, Boris Johnson announced that car dealerships are set to open their doors from 12 April. However, describing March as the ‘Christmas period’ for the automotive industry due to the annual plate change1, the SMMT is lobbying the government to allow dealerships to open as soon as possible to make the most of this demand. Indeed, each year, March accounts for £15bn of revenue, which could be down by £6bn in sales if the 12 April date is adhered to.

Hence, as dealers prepare their lockdown strategies, WMS Group is reminding them to maximise pent-up demand in the car buying market, by upselling F&I products. Not only will this generate extra revenue and profitability for the business, but with over two-thirds (69%) of consumers recently reporting that extended warranties, for example, are important, it will ultimately be of an advantage to the customer.

Now’s the time to educate sales teams and customer on how F&I products can benefit them – it’s all about confidence, peace of mind and potentially much needed additional revenue for the seller.

Craig Grant, Commercial Director at WMS Group, said: “It’s very positive news that the country and economy is moving in the right direction. From speaking to dealers, we know there is lots of demand, and we think dealers need to prepare, by taking a strategic approach to every sale. From our own research, we have found nearly seven in ten consumers (69%) believe being offered a warranty would make them more likely to buy a car.

“So, now’s the time to speak to your provider and consider all the options available to your business. There may be new incentives, such as warranties when purchasing online, that could be implemented in the coming months to streamline the online sales process.”

With the pandemic having accelerated the online car buying trend, prompting dealers to invest in their online purchasing capabilities, not to be overlooked is the vital role that any F&I products have in being introduced to the customer early in the sales cycle, adds WMS Group.

What should now be best practice amongst dealers is arranging diary appointments for their customers to be viewing vehicles in person on the forecourts, come 12 April, with social distancing and safeguarding measures for both dealers and customers in place. Not only is this efficiently preparing dealerships for the incoming boom of enquiries post-lockdown, it’s also allowing dealers to be more in control of stock turnover.

Craig continues: “As we all know, the pandemic has prompted a surge in contactless car sales. At the same time, following the Prime Minister’s announcement last month, at WMS Group, we’ve certainly seen more consumers enquiring about our warranty products.

“As such, the advice is simple, as dealer groups continue to level up their online capabilities, there’s real opportunity and value in incorporating warranty and finance products into that online purchasing journey. After all, by thinking about this now, dealers will be on the front foot, especially as post-lockdown, buying used vehicles online becomes the norm, rather than the exception.”

Providing reliable extended warranty cover and other motoring protection to over 3,500 dealerships across the UK, WMS Group supplies a wide range of trusted solutions. For further information about WMS Group, visit www.wmsgroup.co.uk

1Car industry ‘lobbying Number 10’ to be allowed to open two weeks ahead of other non-essential retail – Car Dealer Magazine

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