Car Buying Articles

Confessions of a Car Salesman

Part 3: Meeting, Greeting and Dealing


Car Buying Learning Center

My first day on the job started with signing about 50 different forms. Most of these were for specific purposes — to show that I understood I wasn't supposed to take dealership car keys home, drive under the influence or sexually harass my co-workers. But one form was of particular interest. It showed the breakdown of the commission structure.

Commissions were based on the "payable gross" to the dealership and were applied in three tiers. If the payable gross was from $0 to $749, our commission was 20 percent of the profit, from $750 to $1249 the commission was 25 percent of the profit. Above $1250 the commission was 30 percent of the profit. In other words, the higher the profit for the dealership, the higher the commission I would earn. Obviously, this motivated salespeople to build profit into the deal so they could hit that magic mark and get into the 30 percent bracket.

When I was interviewed for the job, the dealership was vague about how I would be paid. On the one hand they promised I could make serious money through commissions — maybe four or five grand my first month. On the other hand, they alluded to an hourly wage to begin with. Now I found that I was, in fact, working on straight commission. If I sold cars I made money. If I didn't sell, I didn't make a penny. Maybe that's why there were so many salespeople working here (about 85 in new and used cars). It didn't cost the dealership extra to have a big staff.

When I was done signing forms I was turned over to Michael, my assistant sales manager (ASM). He told me I would be working with five other guys on the "A Team." They were just arriving for work — still straightening their ties, combing their hair — and he introduced me to them as they showed up. There was Oscar, a barrel-chested young guy with a gang tattoo on the back of his hand; Richard, a 6-foot-3-inch weightlifter from Hungary; Tino, who had a quiet dignity that made me think of him as a restaurant maitre d'; Jimmy, a mustachioed soccer fanatic and Juan, six months out of the U.S. Marine Corps.

These were my team members, Michael said. They would be like family, like my brothers. If I couldn't make a deal with a customer, I was to turn them over to someone on my team. Then, if that customer bought the car we'd split the commission. This practice of "turning" customers was stressed repeatedly. I was working in what is known in the business as a "turnover house."

We had a brief meeting in one of the sales cubicles and then the rest of the team went out front to look for "ups." Ups are customers who walk onto the lot. This name comes from the way customers are handled by whichever salesman or woman is "up." The salespeople are always asking, "Who's up next?" The "up system," the order in which customers are taken by the sales staff, is very serious business.

Michael began explaining how the dealership was run. We sold new cars on our side of the building, and used cars were on the other side. In each of the front corners of the building were the new and used car "towers." These glassed-in offices were restricted to employees. Inside was a raised platform where the sales managers sat. When you went into one of the towers, you found yourself behind a high counter, looking up at your bosses, like being in a courtroom or a police station. The sales managers are sometimes referred to as "the desk." Salespeople would say, "You have to clear that deal with the desk." Or, "Who's on the desk today?"

The next step in my training involved the use of the "4-square work sheet." Michael told me the 4-square was my friend, it was the salesman's tool for getting "maximum gross profit." As the name implies, the sheet is divided into four sections. When you have a prospect "in the box" (in the sales cubicle) you pull out a 4-square and go to work.

The information about the customer is written along the top together with the make, model and serial number of the car they want to buy. Then the salesman writes the sticker price of the car in large numbers in the upper right square on the worksheet. Michael stressed that the price of the car should be written in large clear numbers to give it a feeling of authority. He added that we should always write "+ fees" next to the price of the car (This includes license fees and sales tax.).

"Good penmanship is essential," he said. "This makes it harder for them to negotiate. "You're saying, 'Mr. Customer, if you want our beautiful new car, this is the price you're going to have to pay.'"

The other boxes on the 4-square are for the price of the trade-in, the amount of the customer's down payment, and the amount of the customer's monthly payment.

"When you negotiate, this sheet should be covered with numbers," Michael said. "It should be like a battleground. And I don't want to see the price dropping five hundred dollars at a pop. Come down slowly, slowly. Here I'll show you how."

The process begins by asking the customer how much they want for a monthly payment. Usually, they say, about $300. "Then, you just say, '$300... up to?' And they'll say, 'Well, $350.' Now they've just bumped themselves $50 a month. That's huge." You then fill in $350 under the monthly payment box.

Michael said you could use the "up to" trick with the down payment too. "If Mr. Customer says he wants to put down $2000, you say, "Up to?" And he'll probably bump himself up to $2500." Michael then wrote $2,500 in the down payment box of the 4-square worksheet.

I later found out this little phrase "Up to?" was a joke around the dealership. When salesmen or women passed each other in the hallways, they would say, "Up to?" and break out laughing.

The final box on the 4-square was for the trade-in. This was where the most profit could be made. Buyers are so eager to get out of their old car and into a new one, they overlook the true value of the trade-in. The dealership is well aware of this weakness and exploits it.

The opening numbers were now in place on the 4-square. At a glance, Michael said, you could see the significant numbers of this deal — purchase price of the car, trade-in, down payment and the monthly payments. As you negotiated you could move from box to box, making progress as you went. It allowed you to sell a car in different ways. For example, if the customer was determined to get full value for his trade-in, you could take extra profit elsewhere — in the purchase price or maybe even in financing.

The first numbers that go on the 4-square come from the customer. The down payment and the monthly payment are only what they would like to pay. Now, it's time to get the numbers that the dealership would like the customer to pay. These numbers are called the "first pencil" and they come from a sales manager in the tower. Michael said that the first pencil was the dealership's starting position. "You have to hit them high," Michael explained. "You have to break them inside — make them understand that if they want our beautiful new car, they're going to have to pay for it."

Here's how we were supposed to get the first pencil from the tower. After the customer test-drove the car we brought them into a sales office and offered them coffee or a Coke to relax them. Then we filled in the information about the car on the 4-square. We then picked up the phone and called the tower. Michael held his hand like a phone receiver with his thumb and little finger sticking out. "You say, 'Yes sir. I have the Jones family here with me and they have just driven a beautiful new whatever model, stock number blah blah blah.' Then you say, 'Is it still available?' Of course you know it is. But you want to create a sense of urgency. So you pause, then say to the customer, 'Great news! The car's still available!' Then the tower will give you the first pencil. Write it in each of the boxes."

I later found out that the first pencil is arrived at by the dealership in a very unscientific way. For every $10,000 that is financed, the down payment they try to get is $3,000 and the monthly payment they try for is $250. In this way, a $20,000 family sedan would require about $6,000 down and a $500 a month payment. (These payments are based on very high interest rates calculated on five-year loans. These numbers are so inflated that a manager I later worked with laughingly called them, "stupid high numbers.")

"But here's the beauty of this system," Michael said, "these numbers aren't coming from you — you're still the good guy. They're coming from someone on the other end of the phone. The enemy."

Michael returned to his scenario. "OK, so when you give these numbers to the customer you say, 'Here's a pretty good deal for you.' But Mr. Customer says, 'Oh man! Michael, I told you I can only put down $3,000.' So you cross out the $6,000 you wrote and put down $5,750. You say to the customer, 'Is that more what you had in mind?' And you nod as you say this. Try to get them agreeing with you."

This reminded Michael of something and he laughed. "Here's another thing. Never give the customer even numbers. Then it looks like you just made them up. So don't say their monthly payment is going to be $400. Say it will be $427. Or, if you want to have some fun, say it will be $427.33."

While Michael was training me, he didn't ever say, "Here's how to cheat the customer," or, "This is how we inflate the prices." In fact, he stressed that I was supposed to treat customers with respect to build a strong C.S.I. (Customer Satisfaction Index). But manipulation and overpricing was inherent in everything he said. The reason for this was simple — without overpricing we couldn't make a living. What we were selling was profit. Or, as Michael put it, "This is money for you — money for your family."

At times Michael became very excited as he thought of new things to teach me. At one point he said, "Oh! This is a good one! This is how you steal the trade-in." He looked around quickly to make sure no one overheard him. "When you're getting the numbers from the desk, they'll ask if the customer has a trade-in. Say it's a '95 Ford Taurus. And say you took it to the used car manager and he evaluated it and said he would pay four grand for it. If you can get the trade for only three, that's a grand extra in profit.

"So what you do is this," Michael pretended to pick up the phone again, "you ask the desk, 'What did we get for the last three Tauruses at auction?' Then they'll give you some figures — they'll say, $1,923, $2,197 and $1,309. You don't have to say anything to the customer. But he sees you writing this down! And he's going, 'Holy crap! I thought my trade was worth $6,000.' Now it's easy to get it for $3,000. That's a grand extra in profit. And it's front-end money too!" (I later learned that front-end money was what our commissions were based on. Back-end money was made on interest, holdbacks and other elements of the deal.)

We talked for almost two hours before Michael finally ran out of gas. He told me that for the next two days I should get to know the inventory and watch the other salespeople. Then I could learn how to "meet and greet." He invited me to check out some keys and test-drive the cars.

"Product knowledge," he said, tapping his forehead. "Very important. You need to get to know these cars inside and out."

I walked outside and surveyed the car lot. The new cars were on our side of the lot — the used cars to my right. Across the street was another dealership, also selling Japanese cars, and up and down the street were still more dealerships. Most of the manufacturers were represented here. Then, in the distance, was the freeway, a solid river of cars. Cars were everywhere.

"What were you selling before?"

I turned to find Oscar, one of my teammates. He had a broad friendly face to match his incredibly stocky build. Later, I found out he was a high school football star. I couldn't imagine trying to knock him off his feet.

"I used to sell videos," I told him.

"Like X-rated videos?" he asked eagerly.

"Naw. Training materials. Stuff for companies to train the people that work there."

"Oh yeah. We got some like that here." He popped his knuckles. I tried to read the tattoo on the back of his hand. "Michael show you around the lot?"

"No. He was explaining the 4-square."

"You never sold cars before?" he asked.

"No. This is the first time."

"It's easy, man. You'll do good. Hey, I'll show you around." He ducked into the sales office and came back with a set of car keys. "Let's take a ride."

We walked through the line of new cars, each gleaming with water droplets from being washed that morning. Oscar showed me how the lot was arranged with the high-end cars facing the street, the SUVs, minivans and trucks along one side and the mid-sized sedans near the dealership entrance. He told me there was also a back lot with more inventory and even more cars in a rear fenced parking area. As we talked, a car carrier pulled up and more cars began rolling down the ramp.

Oscar opened the door of a high-end sedan in a sport trim. It had a big V6, leather bucket seats, a sunroof and alloy wheels. The sticker showed a total price of $28,576. A second dealer's sticker showed an extra $236 for the custom wheels.

"You're walking through the lot with Mr. Customer and he's eyeballing all these cars," Oscar said. "He stops next to this one and bam! that's the one you're gonna sell him. You pull it out of the row, open the doors and ask him to see how good the seats feel. When he sits down you slam the door and take off."

"You mean, you ask him if he wants to demo the car?" I asked.

"Hell no. They never go for a demo if you ask them. 'Cause they know they're weak. If they drive it they'll buy it. The feel of the wheel will seal the deal, my friend. So you got to kidnap them, man. Just slam the door and take off. Come on, let's go."

We got into the car and he palmed the wheel, backing up, then pulling out onto the street. A block later we hit a light. When it turned green Oscar punched it and I felt the G's pressing me back into the leather.

"Whoa," I said. "Great torque."

"Strong," he agreed, checking the rearview mirror. We made a right, then another right into a shopping center parking lot. We got out.

"Now you got them away from the dealership, you can relax a little, show 'em how awesome this car is. What you want to do is open all the doors and windows, the hood and the trunk. Then you do your walk around. You start at the driver's door and you point stuff out as you go. 'Mr. Customer, this car's got the highest safety rating because it's got front crumple zones and breakaway engine mounts. It's got a 170-horsepower V6 with four valves per cylinder and blah, blah, blah.' See, it doesn't really matter what you say — most people don't even know what the hell you're talking about -— but the important thing is to keep talking: 'Here's the headlights, here's the gas cap. Here's the trunk. Here are the tires.' Anything! Understand?"

"Got it," I nodded.

"Good. Now you drive."

"Me?"

"Yeah. You be Mr. Customer. You get behind the wheel. See, you got to be in control on the demo. Because when you get back to the lot, you got to get them in the box and make a deal."

I slid into the driver's seat and closed the door. Oscar sat beside me, buckling up.

"Make a right here," he said. "See, the test drive route is just a bunch of right turns. If you want to go a little farther, go straight there."

"I want to go a little farther," I said, wondering if he was trying to control me. Besides, driving this car felt great. What was it Oscar said about the feel of the wheel? We came up on a railroad crossing. The tracks rumbled under my wheels, distant and muffled.

"Point out stuff on the route," Oscar said. "Like those tracks. Like this turn. Like the way it brakes. Everything. Just keep talking and building confidence in the product."

I looked over at Oscar wearing his white shirt and silk tie. He had slipped on a pair of wrap-arounds and with his black hair combed back he looked very smooth. Later I learned that he came out of a gang-infested area of the city. A job like this allowed him to drive brand-new cars, handle money deals, wear a tie and act like a big shot.

"Thanks for your help, man," I said when we got back to the lot and put the car away.

"No problem, bro." He shook my hand. "You're gonna do good here."

Over the next few days I noticed that car salesmen shook hands with each other a lot. I shook hands with each of my team members when I arrived in the morning; we shook hands before we left the dealership at night. We might shake hands with each other two or three more times during the day. If I happened to be standing on the curb and if another salesman walked up I shook hands with him. It was like we were all staying loose, practicing on each other, for that moment when we would greet Mr. Customer and needed to use a good handshake that's going to seal the deal.

At one point, during a sales seminar, I was actually taught how to shake hands. The instructor, a veteran car salesman said: "Thumb to thumb. Pump one, two, three, and out." Another vet told me to combine the handshake with a slight pulling motion. This is the beginning of your control over the customer. This would prepare the "up" to be moved into the dealership where the negotiation would begin. The car lot handshake is sometimes combined with the confident demand, "Follow me!" If you employ this method you turn and begin walking into the dealership. Do not look back to see if they are following you. Most people feel the obligation to do what they are told and they will follow you, if only to plead, "But I'm only looking!"

Besides hand shaking there's also a lot of high-fiving, fist-bumping, back-slapping and arm-squeezing going on among the salespeople. Furthermore, there's a certain amount of tie-pulling, wrestling and shadow-boxing during the slow periods.

Later that first day, I was standing on the curb outside the sales offices waiting for ups when a voice boomed over the intercom, "All new and used car salesmen report to the sales towers."

I went into the new car tower while the used car guys went into their tower. It was my first time actually going into this cramped room. There was only a small space around the perimeter of the desk where the salesmen stood, all of us looking up at the three sales managers who loomed above. On that shift, the sales staff was made up of all men. In fact, out of the 85 salespeople, there was only one woman working on the floor selling cars. There were, however, several women in the fleet department and working in the finance and insurance department.

Behind the sales manager's desk were three large white boards. The first listed the names of all the new car sales people. Beside the names was a blue box for each car they sold. Since I started near the end of the month, some of the salesmen had a long row of blue boxes showing they sold as many as 35 cars. Others had only two boxes. This board enabled everyone to see who was doing well, and who was falling behind. The next board showed the number of cars sold by the entire dealership. And the final board listed the names of the salespeople who hadn't sold any cars for three days.

"How ya doin' guys?" Ben asked, looking down at us. He was in his mid-forties with graying hair combed back. His face was thin, his nose pointed, giving him a fox-like appearance.

"Doin' good, boss," the salesmen muttered.

"You lose some weight, Ben?" one of the salesmen asked.

"A few pounds maybe," Ben said, slapping his gut.

"They didn't feed you much in prison?" the salesman said. Everyone broke up.

Ben's face got red. "Will you quit telling everyone that?"

It was an odd response. He wasn't denying that he had been in prison. So I had to assume it was true.

"OK guys. Listen up. It is slow. Slowwwww. You need to start working the phones, get some customers in here. Who's got an appointment today?"

A few hands were raised.

"Here's the deal. No appointments, no ups. You guys each have to have one shown appointment or you don't get to take any ups."

I found out that a shown appointment was one where the customer actually showed up. This prevented salesmen from putting down a fake name just to fulfill this requirement.

"No shown appointment, no ups," Ben repeated. "Is that clear?"

"It's clear, boss," a salesman mumbled.

"OK. Now here's the other thing," Ben said, looking down at the assembled masses. "The guys in used cars think we're a bunch of wimps. They're going around telling everyone they can sell more cars than us. So I bet dinner, for each guy here, that we can outsell them over the next four days. What do you say about that?"

We all cheered.

Ben looked through the glass and across the dealership at the used cars tower. All the salesmen were in there meeting with their managers, just like we were meeting with ours.

Ben picked up the phone. "Now I'm going to call used cars and we're gonna show them who we are." He dialed the extension for the used cars department. When they answered he yelled to us, "What do we think of used cars?!" He then held up the phone so we could collectively yell into it. We shouted, "Used cars sucks!"

Then Ben asked us, "Who's strong?"

We yelled, "New cars!!!"

Meanwhile, of course, we could see the guys in used cars were yelling and screaming at us, telling us we were a bunch of wimps. The receptionist, who sat between the two towers, looked like she would die of embarrassment.

"All right guys," Ben said. "Get out there and sell cars. Let's rock."

The meeting broke up. The salesmen went outside and stood around grumbling. Then, one by one, they went inside and hit the phones.

I was told I was exempt from this no appointment/no ups rule, so I stayed outside. I was left virtually alone, which was unusual. At most times, there were from four to 15 salesmen waiting for ups.

A car pulled onto the lot and a young man and woman got out. No one was there to help them. I looked around. Michael was watching me through the plate glass window. He nodded and pointed at the couple. "Go ahead," he seemed to be saying, "Take them."

"Well, here goes," I thought. "My first customer."

As I moved toward them, my mind was crowded with all I had been taught that day. The couple heard me coming and turned. I don't think I'll ever forget the look on their faces.

Read Confessions of a Car Salesman Part 4: Life on the Lot

Car Buying Learning Center

Comments

  • jpricejr jpricejr Posts:

    Outstanding article with terrific insight and advice. Reads like a novel. This guy really went all out to do the digging. He is going places.

  • striker33 striker33 Posts:

    Excellent article...

  • siyu siyu Posts:

    Awesome article,give me ideas and confidence to deal with dealer tomorrow!

  • karl4111 karl4111 Posts:

    I have sold cars for 18 years for both kinds of dealerships, and this is the most accurate article that I have ever read, on the subject. The point that the author didnt make but is obviuos as you read it is remarkably the agressive dealers have far more floor traffic....Why?

  • karl4111 karl4111 Posts:

    Im going to answer my own question...because basiclly we are like sheep and want to be lead. Thats what the big stores do, just look how we are funneled to where they want us to go in Walmart.

  • dudemon dudemon Posts:

    "confesions of a car salesman" is a joke. it's an article wriiten by a guy who spent a few weeks selling cars at a sleazeball dealership and had an agenda from day one. I've been in the business for 20+ years and have never heard of a dealer basing commisions on gross. Dealers do base commissions on volume, for example 0-8 units pays 22% 9-12 Pays 25% Retroactive etc. Also the finance depts get margins from the lenders. if you walk in off the street to BofA and apply for an auto loan and get 3.79% the dealer may get that same loan carried with BofA but get a "buy rate" of 2.9% from the bank therefore making a .89% yield spread. Edmonds would have you believe that because we send so much business to the lender and therefore get a discount that we are somehow being deceptive.

  • "Spiff" - Poor example. "Weak" - just post a pic of yourself. Edmunds TMV is a joke and U know that! Talk about giving buyers unrealistic expectations. BTW Greenpea - 3 months does NOT a car salesman make!

  • csthreatt csthreatt Posts:

    This was great information.

  • Um... best article ever! Thank you. I consider myself a veteran haggler and have always fought for invoice deals. However, in reading this I can easily reflect back and see how the dealerships and salemen tried and used each and everyone of these techniques.

  • nita56 nita56 Posts:

    amazing and so real. The dealership where I work at was so bad. And when I mentioned that some of their salesmen should be drawn and quartered for their customer services.I was reprimanded and fired. Told I'm the new girl I don't get to have an opinion.Customers(buys a $60,000.00) car calling in six times in one day and they are to busy trying to scam the next customer. Adding 2-4% to the rate just to make a profit. Customers staying there for eight hours because their credit is so bad. Then they get charged 25.99%. Then I'm told at my age appearently I know nothing about customer service. I'm a consumer every day. I was appaulled at the behavior and your article is the absolute truth.

  • p51d007 p51d007 Posts:

    As you can guess, there are a lot of bad car dealers, and there are good ones. If you find a good one, STICK TO IT. My father retired as a car salesman after 32 years in 1999, and was ONE OF THE BEST. Small town (less than 5,000 population), but, he had clients all over the USA, and even a few in South America! I asked him long ago how he was so successful. He told me straight out, NEVER lie to a potential customer. Tell them the truth, straight out. Something I've carried with me to this day.

  • Good article. I WAS the sales manager at a very high production import dealer and not all of us were jerks. I was one of the best and ranked in the top 50 in the country. I was also the training manager for new hires. " needs based selling" like you had at the 'no haggle' store was the most effective of them all. Out of the thousands of car deals I either closed, to'ed or turned,very few customers paid too much. It was my experience that half of our customers could NOT pass a drug screen, thorough background check and basic math test, much less have the acumen to be a car salesperson.Customers lied about thier credit, lied about the condition of their cars, lied about accidents and service records, etc ad nauseum.Some of the most entertaining and intelligent men I have ever met was in the car business and although I'm not in the business any longer, I miss the comeraderie but I don't miss the hours or the lying customers who insisted on us buying their 100,000 mile 'highway miles' turd that had been hit more times than Joe Frazier, while insisting that we didn't have the right to make a profit because the 'interwebz told them so" Just do your reasearch on 3 cars you like, find a salesman you can trust and drive your new ride.

  • What is a "reasonable" profit for a dealer to make on a car?

  • izzyrider izzyrider Posts:

    This article was hilarious, brought tears to my eyes with laughter. I always wanted to be a car salesman, well aware of the hard work, long hours and lack of respect for the job. I took the week long car sales course. The description of the participants and instructor was spot on. I too was out of a job after a long career. I learned to shake hands in the correct manner. Never actually took a sales job as they wanted me to pay to take the rest of the course, another sales job by the instructor. Loved the "tuna" story, best part of the entire article, guess that is why they went out of business. I bought that brand of vehicle for my daughter, never saw another "up" in the showroom other than my self, and the sales person was a female. She was very pleasant, enjoyed the experience, but alas she was gone in two months. No tuna, no money. Next time I buy another car, I'll remind the sales person he not scoring a "pounder" on this sale, better expect a "mini".

  • dealernerd dealernerd Posts:

    Sorry my friend, this is not the normal experience for car salespeople. A real car salesperson would recognize this dealership is disorganized and go to another dealership and make a decent living for their family. To qualify yourself as a cars salesperson you need to understand how many hours it takes to become certified and believe in the product your are selling. You are no Irving Silver or even know who his is, so do not call yourself Car Salesman. Its like being the stadium janitor and saying your in the NFL.

  • sanca sanca Posts:

    Thanks for the knowledge. My wife is ready for a new SUV. Hopefully I can use something I learned from this article. One thing for sure is now I can walk away from aggressive, bullying salesperson.

  • stevie9 stevie9 Posts:

    Interesting and pretty much what I remember. Except the pay. Most just pay 150 or 200 no matter how much the dealer made. They just play with those numbers too

  • equinox27 equinox27 Posts:

    Very informative article for the vast majority. I spent 20 years in the car business, starting with selling Pontiacs, and ended up selling Jaguars and Ferraris. The majority of the new car sales information is correct. The no-haggle information is probably correct. however I worked for the only true no haggle car dealership in Florida, and no I am talking about Carmax. This dealership was so effective that the other 3 Chrysler dealerships in town bought them out. The sad thing is that it was very successful, for customers and employees. It is the way the car business should be. Would love for Edmunds to contact me about how this actually worked as it was back in the 1990's. Oh and a footnote. Prior to around 1957 new cars did not have prices on them and that is how dealers made their money, giving different prices to different people on the same car. Which is how the MSRP Manufacturers Sugessted Retail Price came into play, to help level the playing field. Which of course it did not.

  • equinox27 equinox27 Posts:

    Sorry for the typo, I meant to say, no I am NOT talking about Carmax.

  • tifypop1 tifypop1 Posts:

    I was a career auto sales man for over 32 years, and was very successful. I think it is laughable that this clown did i tfor two whole months, and pretends to know something about it. that is like me spending an evening in an nba locker room, and saying i know all about the nba life. you would need o know the highs and the lows to know what that is like, to be the best at your job, like a hired gun, in the old west, where your repuation preceeds you, and people say reverently, "i have heard of you." do you know what it is like to walk by the gm's office. and him beg you to take a three or four thousand dollar advance, cause he knows the cars you will sell to make up for it. or to have you gm advance you ten to twelve thousand dollars after a storm, because he does'nt want you to go someplace else when they re- open, this poor fellow is " a lost ball in high weeds."

  • carpoor3 carpoor3 Posts:

    My wife and I had a horrible experience with Camelback Toyota in Phoenix, AZ. The deal was done until we met with Finance. Oh, my.... This clown wanted to talk about hunting and fishing while piling on "EXTRAS" to the deal. After two hours of saying NO, NO, NO, NO and being frustrated, we finally signed the papers. You can't believe the hard pressure to purchase CAR JACK to protect your car..... After all, Mexico is 3 hours away??? Tire protection in case the helium in the tires leak??? An extended warranty for $3,000.00 in case the car fails??? Doesn't Toyota warranty their cars when they are new??? Scotch Guard the seats to protect against stains??? Uh, no kids! Be sure to take a condom with you if you deal with CAMELBACK TOYOTA in PHOENIX, AZ. You will need the protection!

  • I'm not a car salesman, but I am in the sales profession, and I sell products that are also high-dollar, on a commission basis. For someone who complains so much about stereotyping, there sure was a lot of it in this article. I'm glad you cooled off, somewhat, by the end... but you are still harsh on owners and managers. Is it ok with you that the dealership makes money? I mean, that's why they are in business. Would you not agree that they offer a service? How much profit do you think they are entitled to? If you think that the car sales world is sleazy because it is profit based, you better go off and try some "undercover jounalism" in some other places. I'd start in real estate, stock brokerage, advertising sales, a travel agency, or just about any other industry that involves producing a good or service in exchange for capital. While we're on the subject, I've met plenty of [non-permissible content removed] jounalists in my time...

  • rokster rokster Posts:

    Thanks for the great story, it reminded me a lot of Bill Bryson's writing, making one laugh and (nearly) cry a lot. At least we will soon walk into a dealership well prepared and ready to negotiate.

  • bones1939 bones1939 Posts:

    Why did you have to go undercover? ***On a mission to lie. Anyone that can fog a mirror can sense that you have no intentions on buying a car. Be a real hard working journalist and get a job a car salesperson and get the facts. YOU AS CONSUMER SHOULD KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. DEVELOPE A LIST ITEMS THAT IMPORTANT TO YOU. ie:style, fuel effieciecy, budget. BEFORE YOU STEP ON TO A LOT AN WASTE PEOPLES TIME. THAT EXPEDITES THE WHOLE PROCESS.

  • tbahama tbahama Posts:

    I have been in the car business for 18 years, and this article is the worst written article I have ever read. It's like Edmund's took ever horror story and night mare they have ever heard and put it in this article. The first thing is no one in the franchise car business roles back or employees anyone who roles back odometers. People do prison time for that sort of thing these days. Automotive specialist now days come from all walks of life, college grads, included. We are people too. Not to mention the government uses our industry to track the economy. I think the most disappointment comes from Edmund's themselves. If it wasn't for all the car people in the country, from the lowliest custodian, through the tech's that turn wrenches right up through the high powered exec's like Rick Hendrick. There wouldn't be a place for Edmund's to even exist. I think this is a prime example of "Biting the hand the feeds you!"

  • ghostsales2 ghostsales2 Posts:

    I am in car sales and have been for the past several years. This article is outdated. Much of these things aren't true anymore. Some yes, but most not anymore. First, Many dealerships don't use the sales square anymore. They have come up with different presentations for pricing. Many dealerships have become very competitive with pricing due to the increased presence of online shopping. Used car prices are so competitive that mark ups, or profit are very minimal. As far as the microphones in the booths and such, this isn't common anymore. Most dealerships have no microphones and don't use phones from the sales desk to the tower. THey just speak with the tower directly. Most dealerships are now much more Customer service oriented. Many laws have changed to make car sales easier.

  • ghostsales2 ghostsales2 Posts:

    This article was published back in 2001. 12 years ago and lots of things are different now. Take into consideration that when this was written 9/11 hadn't happened, The shootings of Colorado in the movie theater hadn't happened and the bombings that happened last week hadn't happen. So much time has past and thus so many things are different. If you are a customer and plan to buy a car, I urge you not to go into the dealership thinking you are going to experience these things, because so many laws have changes. We even have a new president since then..2 elections. Things are different then they were back then. 12 years ago.

  • jb3138 jb3138 Posts:

    If people only knew !no way ill buy a new car again ill get a year old or two.

  • pbeng12 pbeng12 Posts:

    yeah gotta love the scum bag tactic these wretched low life "sales" reps use....

  • bkenis bkenis Posts:

    I really enjoyed that. I don't remember a story of this length ever popping up on the yahoo main stories, but it definitely read as a novel, as others have said. Very informative and insightful. Bravo!

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