July 2, 2007 – Suzuki offers an industry first

A new program by American Suzuki Motor Corp. could help elevate a dealership F&I benchmark.
Suzuki is providing what it calls a first for the industry — an OEM-backed GAP program. The program will not require a consumer to have a primary insurance, meaning dealers will be able to sell GAP on ATVs and off-road motorcycles.
Plus, Suzuki has partnered with GE Money to accept the GAP program on revolving paper in 26 states, with more states expected, said Bob Mueller, American Suzuki Motor Corp.’s sales development manager. The program also includes agreements with GE and HSBC to accept Suzuki’s GAP on their installment loans.
Those key features figure to help elevate the GAP penetration on retail sales, which is around 40 percent according to industry 20 group benchmarks, Mueller said.
“I think the real key to what we’re offering the dealer is we’re allowing them to make a fair profit, we’re giving a salesperson a reason to choose us (with a sales incentive) but more than anything else we’re making it easy for them to do business,” he said.
Suzuki was aiming to get the program started before its dealer show, which was scheduled for June 27-29 in Las Vegas. Part of the program includes allowing dealers to use an online menu system, which is used for Suzuki’s extended protection program.
“They don’t have to send any money in,” Mueller said of dealers. “We bill them direct.”
The GAP program is underwritten by Virginia Surety, which has provided the industry with insurance products since 1989, Mueller said. The program will be administered by Cornerstone. Mueller said Cornerstone’s parent company, TAW, is the nation’s oldest service contract administrator.
GAP programs can assist consumers with paying off the difference on what they owe on a motorcycle and what their insurance company says the bike’s worth. Such matters come up in accidents or when motorcycles are stolen. Mueller said it typically takes a customer several years to build up enough equity to close that “gap” so the program is especially recommended for customers considering a loan with a term of 48 months or longer.
Suzuki GAP Program details

  • Coverage up to 130 percent of MSRP
  • Gap limit up to $35,000
  • Does not require primary insurance
  • Coverage for terms up to 84 months
  • Coverage for customer’s insurance deductible up to $1,000
  • Available in all states except New York, where GAP is typically not offered
  • Approved on vehicle loans by both HSBC and GE Money
  • Available for closed end and revolving loans

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