Automotive Hall of Fame Induction – Pat Ryan
Pat Ryan was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on July 18, 2019 in Detroit for his significant contributions to the automotive Finance and Insurance (F&I) world. He is credited with professionalizing the F&I sector and creating the fifth profit center for an auto dealership, its F&I department. Mr. Ryan saw an opportunity to bundle finance and insurance together and bring it in-house; in 1962, he created the first F&I department at a dealership in suburban Chicago. This move forever changed how auto dealerships operate.
As part of his vision to professionalize the F&I department, Pat Ryan created a program that trained licensed agents to work in the auto dealers’ newly created F&I departments. “I put in a system where I had to see every customer,” Pat Ryan said in a 2005 interview with Automotive News. “I offered them the dealership financing, whether they were going to go to a credit union, pay cash or go with their own bank. I asked if I could also sell them credit insurance.” Mr. Ryan established F&I guidelines for the dealerships, which ensured that the profit center became a fundamental part of operations.
Before F&I centers were an integral part of the car buying processes, the car salesman would arrange financing through manufacturers or even a bank. Selling insurance wasn’t even on the minds of dealers, because they were not licensed to do so. Pat Ryan saw a major profit opportunity for the dealership in finance and insurance, but also believed that “there was a real need for the professionalization of [the sector].” According to Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications and publisher of Automotive News, “Pat Ryan was a fixture in the automotive industry finance business for many decades, and he taught most dealers the importance of F&I”
Since 1939, the Automotive Hall of Fame has honored individuals who have significantly impacted the automotive industry. At this year’s ceremony, Mr. Ryan was joined by inductees Richard E. “Dick” Dauch, Janet Guthrie, and Sergio Marchionne. Mr. Dauch made significant contributions to manufacturing operations and materials management, as well as to the manufacturing and skilled trade workforce; Ms. Guthrie, a motorsports athlete, was the first woman to qualify and compete in both the Indianapolis 500 (in 1978, she placed 9th overall) and the Daytona 500; and Mr. Marchionne is credited with merging two struggling firms into one of the largest and most profitable automotive manufacturers in the world.
Pat Ryan believes that to be an entrepreneur, one has to bring about change to something, bringing or adding value to something that’s not already there. Mr. Ryan cultivated an entrepreneurial spirit early on in his career and continues to embrace innovation in his latest venture, Ryan Specialty Group.
Listen to Pat Ryan’s acceptance speech.