Electronic menus and online customer credit applications are being touted as streamliners and regulatory compliers for the dealership finance and insurance process.

But an estimated two-thirds of dealers are still reluctant to use electronic menu selling, says Chris Morris, senior director of F&I solutions for dealer management systems provider Reynolds and Reynolds.

“The interactive approach has been found to be more helpful in pinpointing a customer's choices and non-choices,” says Morris. “In addition, menu selling guarantees a dealer's compliance with disclosure rules, inasmuch as it can be more tightly integrated into a dealer management system.”

Customers at Apple Tree Acura, Fletcher, NC, “are more responsive to” F&I presentations on an electronic menu,” says Jason Locke, general sales manager. “It reduces customer waiting time at the dealership, which, in turn, results in sales of more F&I products and services.”

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Financial subsidiary has updated its online credit application process into a 6-step process.

All a customer needs to enter on an application forms are zip code; type of financing and length of term; vehicle selection; personal information and co-applicant if any; name of preferred dealer, and verification of the information's accuracy.

The captive lender says it is seeking to send an approval notice to the dealer linked to the application within an hour, along with a copy of the application.

Chrysler Financial has also completed rollout of its automated credit evaluation system, called ACE, across Route One's network.

Route One is jointly owned by Chrysler Financial with Ford Credit, GMAC and Toyota Financial Services. It serves as a single processing system for customer credit applications.