Car Buying Articles

Confessions of a Car Salesman


Car Buying Learning Center

What really goes on in the back rooms of car dealerships across America?

What does the car salesman do when he leaves you sitting in a sales office and goes to talk with his boss?

What are the tricks salespeople use to increase their profit and how can consumers protect themselves from overpaying?

These were the questions we, the editors at, wanted to answer for our readers. But how could they really know that our information was accurate and up-to-date? Finally, we came up with the idea of hiring an investigative reporter to work in the industry and experience, firsthand, the life of a car salesman.

We hired Chandler Phillips, a veteran journalist, to go undercover by working at two new car dealerships in the Los Angeles area. First, he would work at a high-volume, high-pressure dealership selling Japanese cars. Then, he'd change over to a smaller car lot that sold domestic cars at "no haggle" prices.

We invite you to read the following account of Phillips' day-to-day experience on the car lots. Doing so will broaden your understanding of the dealership sales process. It will also cast a new light on the role of the car salesman. And, finally, it will help you get a better deal — and avoid hidden charges — the next time you go to buy or lease a new car.

Read, learn and enjoy.

— The editors at

Read Confessions of a Car Salesman Part 1: Going Undercover

"Confessions of a Car Salesman" Updated for 2009

Read more articles in the Edmunds' Confessions Series.

Car Buying Learning Center

Most Recommended Comments

By jpricejr
on 09/02/12
7:09 PM PST

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.

Recommend  (390) (156)

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By striker33
on 09/02/12
9:18 PM PST

Excellent article...

Recommend  (261) (61)

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By siyu
on 09/04/12
8:00 PM PST

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

Recommend  (226) (76)

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