Salespersons at AutoNation, Inc. dealerships are being trained to furnish finance and lease payment options before customers sign vehicle-purchase confirmations and even enter the finance and insurance offices.

The new sales approach, called “Smart Choice,” is designed to spell out payment options at the top of the process, says Kevin Westfall, senior sales vice president for the nation's largest dealership chain.

“We start with the vehicle's MSRP on the sticker and go through all discounts and rebates, including dealer holdback and all options,” he says. “The idea is 100% transparency and an end to the confusion that has arisen too much on prices in the F&I office.”

Westfall says the system is not designed to take the place of F&I managers, “but make the process easier and remove all the apprehension that has gone on.”

AutoNation owns 269 U.S. dealerships and raised its gross F&I profit per vehicle retailed in the third quarter from a year ago by $63, to $1,039. For the year to date, the F&I per-vehicle profit advanced $75, to $1,053.