Right-Sizing Extended Electric Vehicle Warranty And CPO Policies, an Interview with Josh Bass, VP of Innovation at JM&A Group
"It's all about ensuring that JM&A Group stays ahead of the competition, specifically in the F&I Product space."
The MAPConnected Vehicle Service and Warranty Lifecycle Summit 2022 is approaching. A collaborative conversation, led by some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, will be hosted by the Westin Southfield Detroit on the 25th - 26th of October. We had the opportunity to sit with Josh Bass, Vice President of Innovation at JM&A Group.
The Automotive Industry: A Transformation
Josh has had an exciting career, "most of my roles have centered around strategy and product innovation," he shares. Josh has spent most of his career at the front and center of emerging ideas and innovations. He started in the dotcom space and the e-commerce world "when everything was moving from brick and mortar to online retailing," Josh says. "I have seen the evolution and innovation that took place there and then spent many years in the energy industry." Terms like customer centricity and the evolution of home-based technologies were becoming prominent. Josh was fortunate to be involved in roles focusing on leveraging emerging technologies and trends to shape strategy and product innovation. In 2012, Josh continued his career by joining JM Family Enterprises, an $18 billion privately held company based in Deerfield Beach, Florida and parent company to JM&A Group, as Director, Sales Planning, then Vice President of Strategy and Business Transformation and subsequently, VP of Corporate Enterprise Strategy. Continuing his role as an agent for change, Josh became Vice President: Innovation, a new role within JM&A Group, a leader in the F&I industry for more than 40 years. In his new role, he is focused on combining the synergies of marketing and product development, "ultimately, it is about listening to our dealers and customers to leverage intelligence in the right way in order to provide great products and a great experience for our dealers," Josh says.
"It's all about ensuring that JM&A Group stays ahead of the competition, specifically in the F&I Product space," Josh says. "Most importantly, we focus on how our product helps dealers with their performance and, in turn, supports the end-user buying the product."
Predicting and Building for the Future
"I think on a personal level, you've got to be curious, and you've got to be trying to connect the dots of things happening both within and outside your industry," he shares. However, Josh adds that an additional layer of sensibility is required. "I think where you can get caught up or trapped if you're looking way too far out and not being sensible about what's manageable and doable today."
Josh cites bridging emerging trends with current trends as a critical factor in identifying how you can make things actionable in the present. However, he explains that a balance needs to be found, "not dreaming too far into the future and not being myopic and missing out on what's happening in your industry today."
Connecting Marketing and Product Development for a Competitive Advantage
"It's about the voice of the customer and our dealers."
Listening to the dealers and the customers to fully understand their insights is vital when crafting products. "Collaborating with our dealers to make sure that we're providing products and services as well as branding that is going to help them progress in ultimately understanding the customers' needs" is essential, Josh says. JM&A Group is committed to helping our dealer partners understand their customers better. Josh explains that leveraging consumer insights helps dealers effectively sell F&I products and brings a level of sophistication to the overall buying experience.
The E.V. Customer: Dealers need to be ready to answer sophisticated questions
There are, of course, similarities between the traditional buying experience, those purchasing I.C.E. vehicles, and those purchasing EVs. "They are ultimately still buying a vehicle, but there are differences for sure," Josh shares. "We have seen that they tend to be a more sophisticated buyer, that typically has done more research prior to their purchase; EV customers ask more questions."
EV customers want to understand how the battery will maintain its health over time. In addition, they want to know how and where they will charge their vehicles. New technology within the vehicle, such as dashboard information relating to the car's performance, is another aspect that dealers need to be equipped to answer.
JM&A Group focuses on helping dealers create a compelling sales experience through the recent launch of their EV+ Protect™ brand.
"One of the reasons we launched the EV+ Protect™ brand is because we want to make sure that when customers come in to buy a new vehicle, they understand how to protect it and have the peace of mind that they have the coverage to prepare them for the road ahead."
JM&A Group has been providing service and maintenance F&I products to dealers for many years now and prides itself on listening to its dealers. Josh explains that collaboration with dealers allows for opportunities to be realized, "we understand that there is an opportunity to have a comprehensive brand that supports and covers our products." He goes on to share that "helping our dealers and their customers understand the buying experience to include a tailored set of products that are specific for a unique technology."
Inviting Change through Exceptional Relationship Management
"We develop strong relationships with our dealers and maintain continuous dialogue," Josh explains. "Ultimately, we consult with our dealers to ensure that when emerging technologies and processes change within the dealership, we are right there to support them " he says.
"EVs are the next piece in the line of evolution in our industry."
"Dealers have always been good at adapting to change in the industry, and JM&A Group is there to ensure that they are getting what they need in terms of product, insight, training and perspective on how to adapt to the changes."
It all comes back to the relationships between JM&A Group and its dealers and customers.
JM&A Group also used dealer feedback to create and launch a new EV warranty product under the EV+ Protect™ brand. "We believe we have the most comprehensive and unique F&I warranty product on the market today," says Josh. The product provides comprehensive coverage for used vehicles. "Customers buying any EV vehicle can be provided comprehensive coverage for the vehicle as well as protection for the battery for the duration of that warranty period."
A Culture of Innovation
"It is a continuation of our corporate culture to find new ways of doing business," Josh smiles as he answers what excites him most. "For us to be innovative in the market, and particularly to remain ahead of the curve relative to our competition while ultimately providing innovative products and services for our dealers, is the most exciting part."
JM&A Group is committed to trying new things. "Part of innovation requires you to be able to try things that may be new to a market or new to the customer," says Josh, "some things are going to be successful, but there might be times where we don't do as well as we thought." Overall, JM&A Group has a deep commitment to learning from those experiences to convert them to success in the future, the freedom to create, and the byproduct of true innovation and, ultimately, learning.
In terms of launching the EV+ Protect™ brand, the team, through its field team, has made it accessible to dealers to gain a complete understanding of EV F&I products. "We can promote products and the brand. In addition, we have point-of-sale materials and information for customers during the buying experience."
The MAPconnected Vehicle Service and Warranty Lifecycle Summit
"We're going to be discussing the performance of EVs as well as the vehicle's impacts on claims considerations that you have to take in terms of pricing F&I products. These aspects will also impact product design and marketing, ultimately selling F&I to the buyer."
Josh will be teamed up with James Davies from J.D. Power, who will have unique insights and data perspectives on EV technologies currently operating in the market. "We are looking forward to also hearing the perspectives of the audience and participants, having a great dialogue around these topics," which will make it an engaging session.
Join Josh in the interactive session, "Right-Sizing Extended Electric Vehicle Warranty And CPO Policies" MAPConnected Vehicle Service and Warranty Lifecycle Summit at the Westin Southfield Detroit on October 25th and 26th.