Skip to comments.Confessions of a Car Salesman
Posted on 11/22/2011 12:44:06 PM PST by mowowie
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 Edmunds.com, 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.
(Excerpt) Read more at edmunds.com ...
Good read to see what cars sales are like from inside the dealership.
That way I get to avoid car dealerships.
I have relatives who are auto salespeople. They call the dealership ‘Crazy Town’ and describe it as basically a collection of larcenous sleazeballs.
Reminds me of the movie “Flywheel”.
For over a year I’ve received notices that the dealership which sold my father a SUV would buy back the vehicle as there was a demand for this particular type of used vehicle.
Fine. So, I had the SUV detailed and showed up at the dealership to see what they would offer me for it. Before doing that I had checked out the Kelly Blue Book price and what Ebay had in recorded sales for my area for this particular vehicle. The average Blue Book price for this SUV was $35000 - #36335.
The dealership offered me $24000. My dad owes the financing company $10000 more that that, and the dealership knows that as they sold and financed the vehicle.
I’m going to put it on Ebay but sales across the board on Ebay have tanked. Someone today told me Ebay sales are down 90%!
Although I have never worked at a dealership, I do have insider experience from years working in Dealer Fiance at a bank.
This article is old, but still very relevant. I read it years ago and its still valid.
I actually look forward to bying a car. I always get my way. I’m not naive enough to think I’ve screwed over the dealership, but I do know the little tricks they use, and I use them to my advantage.
I usually end up having the Sales Manager dealing with me as the poor sales agents have to give up.
And then when I get to F & I? We start all over again!
Fun stuff. IF you know what your doing.
“I only buy used vehicles, and then only once every ten or fifteen years.”
I buy expensive cars used for less than half of their original new price, then they last me like 10 years before they become crapboxes.
Make for a pretty good deal.
One of the best movies I have ever seen. But my and my families all time favorite is The Secrets Of Jonathan Sperry, followed by another Rich Christiano film Time Changer.
Just bought a new car and I pick it up Friday. Sites like truecar.com that give you the prices paid for a particular vehicle in your area are valuable. Walking out of a dealership is seldom a mistake. Once you decide on a particular vehicle, get two or three dealers involved in a price war,
I thought this was a Romney article.
I look for nice cars that have been well-cared for and are around 100k miles. Those have usually been well-maintained and will have 50k left in them easy, often 100k. I buy them under $10k, take care of them and drive them for 5-6 years.
Either a private sellers or a dealer. Private sellers are easier to work with but at a dealer, you just shoot them a price about $2k under what they asked and be prepared to walk. I may walk 3-4 times but eventually I’ll hit a winner!
You do have to know something about cars to make sure you don’t buy a heap, but it’s been working for me for almost 20 years.
The fun stuff is getting pricing from multiple dealers on line prior to walking into a showroom. Saves time and money.
True. And bring in newspaper ads from their competitors. Tell them that you can buy the same model for $3,000 less than they are asking.
They will thank me for buying a non-union made vehicle? Strange...
I don’t buy from dealerships anymore. But it’s excellent reading for knowledge. Anytime anyone knows more about how sales of something work they have a far better chance at not getting screwed, and getting a decent deal.
You are assuming it is a UAW-made car.
I’m thinking that the writers second job was at a Saturn dealership.
The first was most likely Toyota with it’s crew cabs and such.
Interesting article. Can’t believe I read the whole thing. My advice as an older person and Dave Ramsey fan is, Don’t buy new in the first place, ever. Pay your payments for your NEXT car now while you drive your current car so you can pay cash when the time comes.
I have a friend with an interesting strategy. He buys classic street cars like Chevelle SS 396 that someone else has spent a fortune and toiled to restore. The problem with restoring a car (unless it is rare or a classic) Is that you always take a beating when you sell. He takes advantage of that. Drives the car until it needs restoring again then sells it for about the same price he bought it for, to a gear head that wants to restore it. The result is he always drives a cool car that doesn’t depreciate.
I worked at dealership like the first one for a week.
I almost hate to say this but I have a Dodge Truck dealership that I like. Really like. They have given me great deals on vehicles including the trade-ins and no horsing around. In-out in about an hour. Their service center has done a great job and at low prices. I simply cannot say that dealership has treated me badly in any way. Go figure.
The entire purpose of Cash-for-Clunkheads was to eliminate as many serviceable used vehicles as possible to force people to purchase new vehicles, a certain percentage of which would be UAW products.
I may be missing something, but if he buys a Honda or Toyota, how is he contributing to the demand for UAW cars?
I told him "My Dad was a car dealer. I know this routine. If you leave, I won't be here when you get back." Things moved right along after that.
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