FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — Chrysler Financial hosted its fifth annual F&I Conference early this month, Feb. 11 to 15, and provided an overview of the event.

Moreover, the company announced a new tool to benefit the customers of its franchised dealers.

The conference titled "Educate and Accelerate" is a knowledge-based business conference designed to showcase tools, tips, processes and ideas for practical use in the F&I departments of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships, officials explained.

Basically, the conference, held in Las Vegas, is designed to provide F&I managers with ideas for increasing profit for their F&I offices.

"The conference brought together experts in a variety of auto finance related disciplines — from seasoned Chrysler Financial professionals to automotive industry leaders," highlighted Mark Manzo, vice president of sales and marketing for Chrysler Financial.

"One of our strengths at Chrysler Financial is our commitment to F&I training and providing access to our dedicated dealer consultants," he added.

F&I breakout sessions included the customer F&I experience, structuring the deal, leasing, menu selling, legal matters and power in partnerships.

There was also a business expo highlighting Chrysler Financial business support tools such as lead generation, e-finance, insurance and credit card loyalty, officials noted.

"I could talk all day about what I got out of the CF-Connect session I participated in," explained Sam Bass, business manager for Farris Motors in Rocky Mount, N.C.

"CF-Connect is like a one-stop shop, with all the tools I need available from one screen," he pointed out.

Officials called the conference an ideal location for the new launch of the CF-Connect link through the Chrysler DealerConnect portal.

This Web-based interface provides Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge customer information for pre-sale, point-of-sale and post sale.

Some of the special new features include the option to generate customer lists for prospecting. The tool also provides real-time customer information like current payment, maturity date, line of business, payment range and current vehicle model and a free OFAC check, executives reported.

"When I left the conference and returned to the dealership, I met with our general sales manager to show him some of the new reporting capability in CF-Connect. His eyes lit up and he immediately set up a meeting to spread the word to our sales staff," recalled Neville Flintoft, finance director for Bill Luke Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Phoenix, Ariz.