44 » OpenRoad Driver Ask the Experts Business Sense The role of the Business Office by Melissa Mak » You’ve taken the time to do the research and to test drive various vehicles. You’ve compared technical specifications, looked closely at the pricing and manufacturer incentives, and, finally, you’ve made up your mind to get that car of your dreams. Now what? Should I lease it over 48 months, or does it make more sense to pay for it in full now? Will my credit application even check out? How do I keep my new car in the best condition in the long run? These are all questions that could go through many people’s minds when purchasing a car. After all, it’s a big purchase, and for many of us, a possession we plan to keep for many years. That’s why it’s important to take some time to think ahead and consider the ways we can best protect our shiny new toy. Luckily for us, that’s where the Business Office of a dealership comes in. For this issue of OpenRoad Driver, we sat down for a one-on-one with OpenRoad Lexus Richmond’s business development manager, Pamela Alspach, to demystify the business of the Business Office. What exactly is the role of the Business Office during the sales process? What types of products are normally offered in the Business Office? The Business Office plays a crucial part in enhancing a customer’s purchase experience. Buying a car is a big purchase, and the Business Office is here to inform the customer on availa ble options to best protect his or her new investment. The Business Office offers products such as warranty packages, paint and leather protection, undercoating, or window tinting for new and pre-owned vehicles. Even for normal everyday driving, we put our cars through rough road and weather conditions, so it’s important to protect them right from the start to minimize the wear and tear as much as possible. When a customer decides to purchase a vehicle, there are many things to consider. Payment option is one of them. Whether someone chooses to lease or finance a vehicle or pay with cash all depends on budget and current incentives. The Business Office can present the various options and explain each in detail so that the customer can decide for themselves which aligns best with their financials. The Business Office is also here to discuss value-add products for the customer’s new vehicle, such as warranty, exterior or interior protection packages, insurance (life and disability), or upgrades (tinted windows, dash cameras, etc.). Is it true that finance or lease rates are higher at a dealership’s Business Office than those offered at other places? Different financial institutions can offer different rates, but we can typically match the rate offered by any bank. We work with automotive manufacturer finance professionals, traditional banks and other lenders, including our flexible in-house finance team, so we can provide customers with the best financing options. Do different car brands offer different products in the Business Office? Yes, different dealerships can offer different protection plans and warranty packages. Some products are make- or vehiclespecific, so they don’t actually work on other cars. Why should anybody consider additional protection packages for their newly purchased vehicle? Don’t manufacturers offer them with their new cars already? Purchasing a warranty is never a bad idea! It often depends on how long you plan to keep your car or how many kilometres you drive per year. Most manufacturer warranties expire after a time period or when you reach certain kilometres, so keep that in mind. Also, most extended warranty plans remain with the vehicle, so you actually have extra value when and if you ever decide to sell your car.