January 26, 2021

Dent Wizard merges F&I division with Sonsio

Dent Wizard, an automotive reconditioning services and vehicle protection product company, is merging its finance-and-insurance division with tire and mechanical warranty provider Sonsio, both companies said Tuesday.

The new company, called Sonsio Vehicle Protection, will serve more than 74,000 locations across all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Their clients include new- and used-car dealerships, independent repair facilities and tire shops.

Both companies were recently acquired by Dealer Tire, a Cleveland-based outfit that supplies millions of tires each year to more than 8,000 new-car dealers’ service departments.

On Jan. 1, Dent Wizard’s F&I product line, called Evolution, became part of Sonsio. Sonsio CEO David Jones will be CEO of the new company. Lindsey Bird, division president of Evolution Vehicle Protection, will be Sonsio Vehicle Protection’s president.

Previously, Sonsio sold just one F&I product: tire-and-wheel protection, Jones told Automotive News.

“We were always a one-trick pony. We really didn’t compete with anybody in the space,” he said. “We were looking at how to expand our product set. Do we build or buy?”

With the merger, Evolution brings a full suite of products that focuses on appearance-based services such as paintless dent removal and hail-damage and interior repairs, as well as long-standing dealership relationships, Jones said.

“Their sales engine and our administrative machine in the background — that’s where the collaborative approach between the two companies is going to be most coherent,” he said.

Both companies were hard hit at the onset of the pandemic. Evolution’s business was halved in March amid shelter-in-place orders and stayed low through the spring, Bird said. In June, sales rose to 80 percent of what the company sold in 2019 and stayed at that level for the rest of the year.

For 2021, the companies are cautiously optimistic.

“We’re going in with the expectation of meeting 2019’s [F&I sales] volume,” Bird said. “I think you’d be very ambitious if you’d felt like you would grossly exceed that volume.”