Self-regulation continues to raise dealer standards

Self-regulation continues to raise dealer standards

Finance and Leasing Association logoThe Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) has praised motor dealers for their commitment to better information for car buyers, after a record year for its Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) scheme.

SAF is a kite-mark to increase car buyer confidence in car finance, with dealer sales staff completing an online assessment. Participating dealers must also adhere to a SAF Guidance Note, which is underpinned by the FLA’s long-establish Lending Code. The industry-regulated SAF scheme is designed to help car buyers make an informed choice when choosing how to finance their next car.

A hugely successful year for SAF concludes with RRG Group (also known as Marubeni) becoming the latest high-profile dealer group to be awarded ‘SAF Approved’ status. Around 110 staff across RRG Group’s 23 showrooms have passed the SAF test. Over 80% of the UK’s largest dealer groups are now participating in the scheme.

Paul Harrison, Head of Motor Finance at the FLA, said: “The motor finance market is performing well in difficult times, but customers are savvy when shopping for expensive purchases and will look out for dealers who offer the best service levels. People can review the car finance options available to them at www.FinancingYourCar.org.uk, and search for their nearest SAF Approved showroom on our dealer directory.”

“2011 has been an outstanding year for SAF, with 7500 industry staff signing-up to the scheme. SAF is an example of how industry action can improve information given to consumers. We have also heard how a number of dealerships have turned to SAF to demonstrate their motor finance compliance to the regulators.”

“My congratulations to RRG Group who become the latest ‘SAF Approved’ business.”

Central to SAF is the FLA’s online competence test, launched to dealers in October 2007. The competence test is a free-of-charge assessment covering the finance products sold in showrooms and the surrounding regulation. The test does not teach staff how to sell finance but aims to improve their overall finance knowledge. To remain SAF-certified, individual staff must renew the test every 12 months.

As part of SAF, the FLA has also developed an impartial consumer guide to motor finance -www.FinancingYourCar.org.uk. The web site helps potential car buyers to review all of the options available in showrooms to help them purchase their next car, all from the comfort of their own home.

www.SpecialistAutomotiveFinance.org.uk is the SAF portal for the industry to help companies learn more about the initiative.

Over 25,000 SAF tests have so far been taken since 2007 from across over 1000 businesses. There are over 1500 SAF Approved dealerships in the UK.

For more information: www.financingyourcar.org.uk