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The “They Never Break” Objection

This month’s submission comes from Big Island Honda in Hilo, Hawaii. The F&I manager there is facing a customer objection common with the Honda brand: “It’s a Honda, they never break down.”

The F&I pro has tried the “99% close.” She’s even responded with, “There is a reason we have a service department.” But nothing seems to work. This is becoming an all-too-common objection facing F&I offices, regardless of brand. What we need to do is outrun this objection. Let me show you what I mean.

Name: Chelsea Criswell

Company: Big Island Honda Hilo

Objection: “It’s a Honda, they never break down. I am disappointed that I have more confidence in your brand than you do!”

Tony’s Take: As I said, this objection is coming up more often these days in F&I offices. The trick is to acknowledge the quality of the vehicle before the customer uses it to object to your service contract.

See, when customers think of a vehicle repair, the first thing that comes to mind is a catastrophic failure of the engine or transmission. And if the buyer is a repeat customer of the brand, he or she is probably very confident in the quality of the engine and transmission. So don’t be afraid to acknowledge the build quality of the vehicle, particularly those two major components.

Building the Need: First, when dealing with repeat customers of the brand, be sure to point out the longevity they experienced with their previous vehicle was due in large part to them keeping up with the vehicle’s scheduled maintenance. And make sure to stress that both components are maintainable items.

The next step is to bring up the amount of technology equipping today’s vehicles. Tell the customer that there’s more technology in today’s vehicles than ever before. Be sure to stress that all of this technology can’t be maintained, which means these features will simply stop working.

Revealing the Need: Remember, today’s consumer understands that most technology is disposable. Take your laptop. What do we do when it stops working? In most cases, we buy a new one. We do the same with our cell phones. However, we can’t simply dispose of the technology inside the car when it stops working. So what do we do? That’s right, we replace it.

So, again, acknowledge the quality of the vehicle when making your presentation. But also be sure to mention the items that can’t be maintained, such as the tech features. Finish by telling the customer that it’s these items the service contract will cover.

The Pitch: “Mr. and Mrs. Customer, I have a vehicle service contract here for you. It will pay 100% of your parts and labor for repairs on your vehicle for the next five years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. You and I both know that [Honda] makes a very good car, and the chances of you having a problem with the motor or the transmission is very low, just as long as you properly maintain the vehicle.

“So, the service contract is going to step in and fix all of those nonmaintainable items in your vehicle, such as the computers, the navigation system, the heated and cooled seats, the touch controls on the steering wheel, the rear-view camera, and even the lane departure and active cruise control systems — basically all of the computerized technology that can’t be maintained. And as we know, all of those computerized components work until they stop working, and the service contract will fix those items when they do.”

That’s it for this edition. I hope my insights help you close a few more sales. Just remember, it’s about educating the customer and clearly disclosing the need for our products. Good luck and keep those emails coming.

Tony Dupaquier serves as director of F&I training for the Automotive Training Academy, a division of American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. If you’d like his help on a troublesome objection, email him at


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