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Edmunds.com - Confessions of a Car Salesman

Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
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?


Talk about the article here!

Confessions of a Car Salesman

Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

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Comments

  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Seemed like a fair and balanced report of auto sales, at least from a consumers viewpoint

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

    I think they are baking fruitcakes for Christmas... or shooting a little b-ball in the back lot.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Why did ya bring this here. :cry: :) This was written like in the 80's wasn't it? Or maybe early 90's. Night and day between then and now as to how the day to day operations are handled.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Why did ya bring this here. This was written like in the 80's wasn't it? Or maybe early 90's. Night and day between then and now as to how the day to day operations are handled.

    I didn't bring it here, Karen did. But, to be honest I was thinking the same thing. That article is old/ancient/Jurrasic age news. :sick:

    They (Edmunds) need to have a Confessions of a Car Salesman Part 2. Would certainly be interesting to see how things have changed. Karen, care to take on an additional assignment of undercover saleswoman? You can borrow my fake nose and mustache disguise kit.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,625
    That worn out old article keeps resurfacing ad nauseum.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    What aspects have changed and can you point out any principles that persist?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • duke23duke23 Posts: 488
    Isellhondas wrote :
    "That worn out old article keeps resurfacing ad nauseum. "

    I'm thinking new topic, how has sub $1.50 rug and an absence of global warming changed your car salesmen confessions? Timely, topical, but I repeat myself and hit three themes no ? The good guy : bad guy marketing shall continue for advertising purposes.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    The only principle that persists is the tendency of some to keep perpetuating a sterotype for their own gain.
  • bar20bar20 Posts: 15
    Sorry but I believe you are wrong. I am getting the same run around I got four years ago, and my step daughter was treated in a manner like the first dealer he worked at, when she purchased her car. As far as stereotype, why not? It was the dealerships that decided to sell cars the way they do and the manufactures stood by and let them do it. What other industry has there own jargon for customers? There are some dealers that play by the rules, but everyone should, but they don't.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,359
    What other industry has there own jargon for customers?

    The judicial system, for one...
    Small Claims Court= "Small Brains Court" or "The Gong Show"
    Paternity Court= "Maybe Baby"
    Juvenile Court= "The FFA: Future Felons of America"

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    What run around are you referring to?

    The dealer won't give you the price you want?

    Sorry, but they are under no obligation to do so.
    Selling cars is a business. Businesses need to make money, as much as they can make.
    It's not rocket science.
    Plus, EVERY business has derogatory terms for their customers.
    The only reason you don't hear them is because there aren't websites devoted to stories and innuendo of their industries.
    You get ripped off far worse at a jewelry store or the grocery store.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    Oh come now. Let's not play naive here. The "tricks" aren't made-up, and not every customer's story of unhappiness is due to not being able to lowball the dealer.

    Sure, the profit margin on many products is much higher than on vehicle sales. However, at both jewelry and grocery stores I've never:
    * had a salesperson insist on trying to sell me a monthly payment rather than a price
    * had the salesperson "lose" my trade-in jewelry to keep me in the store longer
    * negotiated a price, only to have it change before the deal closed
    * had a 4-square pulled out on me
    * been lied to about the condition/quality of a vehicle (they use largely objective rating scales)
    * experienced a bait-and-switch
    * had a confusing, frustration, or particularly stressful shopping experience

    Fortunately, these tactics are becoming less common, but I've experienced all of them in the past 10 years. I used to suffer through them, but now I just walk out and seek out a more reputable dealership. The bad experiences aren't all due to price vs. profit.

    Just as we acknowledge that there are bad, lying customers, there are also bad, lying salespeople who make the process entirely unpleasant for the customer.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,625
    Yes, all of these things happen, even today.

    I'm from So. Calif and that is a HORRIBLE market for these tricks although there are good stores there too.

    On the other hand, customers can be just rotten thrmselves. You won't believe the tricks they play or the lies they tell us.

    I'll stick with my advise that I've given before...instead of trying to chisel the lowest possible price bu running all over pitting dealer against dealer, ask a family member or a co-worker for a referral!

    You won't pay any more and you'll be happier!
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    * had a salesperson insist on trying to sell me a monthly payment rather than a price
    * had the salesperson "lose" my trade-in jewelry to keep me in the store longer
    * negotiated a price, only to have it change before the deal closed
    * had a 4-square pulled out on me
    * been lied to about the condition/quality of a vehicle (they use largely objective rating scales)
    * experienced a bait-and-switch
    * had a confusing, frustration, or particularly stressful shopping experience


    These things are hardly unique to the car business. In the car business, as in other industries they are the exception rather than the rule.
    The problem is sites like this that like to portray them as the rule RATHER than the exception.
    The mantra here is "Trust us, the car dealer is screwing you".
    Even though most of the info, esp the pricing info on this site is patently bogus.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    The problem is sites like this that like to portray them as the rule RATHER than the exception

    I have to say the dealerships I have visited were mostly honest... a lot of game playing to get me in the dealership, but nothing illegal. Most of the salesmen were nice guys, one slimeball who lied about having a poor sick mother.

    But, that's the way the media (and Edmunds) is nowadays. People don't want to read of someone getting a fair deal and everyone walking away happy. They want to read stories like Kristies... someone getting ripped off. Increased readership/members equals increased advertising $$$.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Increased readership/members equals increased advertising $$$.

    My, how cynical! Kirstie is merely expressing her thoughts and I think it's a rather long leap to attribute that to cold advertising calculations. I think we should avoid speculation on motives (which, invariably turn out to be misinformed anyway) and just listen to what people are saying.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,625
    Cynical?? not Jipster!

    Why do you think I ignore him?
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    LOL. I just knew the first response to that "cynical" comment would come from you isell, my Edmunds stalker who always lies in wait to read my posts then says he ignores them. You are about the only salesperson here that I have little to no respect for, so in the future would you please try harder to ignore my posts? ;)
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Kristie writes: Let's not play naive here

    I agree. So, why the naivivity (sp) by some on Edmunds being a "business"out to make money. Edmunds is a business... no need to speculate on that. The more members and lurkers, the more $$$ Edmunds can charge for advertising.... Business 101. That a "Confessions of a Car Salesman" discussion is listed in Smart Shoppers 4 years after it was written, during a economic downturn, is... let's say curious. There is no doubt that most salesman consider this "Confessions" article sensationalised journalism, and it is presented in a negative manner towards their industry. I have posted many times before, that my experiences with dealerships, for the most part, have been positive. That most of the salesmen I have dealt with have been nice guys. I agree with kristie that there are a lot of good dealerships and a lot of bad. But, like I stated before, the bad news usually gets the headlines. That is called being a realist. :P
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,625
    Please keep this up. Maybe they will finally ban you!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    That a "Confessions of a Car Salesman" discussion is listed in Smart Shoppers 4 years after it was written, during a economic downturn, is... let's say curious.

    Not really. We're putting out a series of "confessions" and the salesman confessions was the precursor to all the rest so it is natural to include it:

    Edmunds.com - Confessions of a Car Thief

    Edmunds.com - Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Not really. We're putting out a series of "confessions" and the salesman confessions was the precursor to all the rest so it is natural to include it:

    Yeah, I noticed the new "Confessions of a Car Thief" article right before I turned in for the night. I guess I missed the inner office memo on its upcoming arrival. :D

    I really enjoyed reading the "Confessions..." series. I re-read the first four chapters of "Confessions of a Car Salesman" a little while ago, and "Car Thief..." late last night. I would have to say it is really informative to those with limited knowledge on the subject. "Confessions of a Car Salesman" seemed to offer a balanced account of the industry. A few stereotypes (slicked back hair, jewelry, lowering the value of a trade-in, bumping monthly payments up, making customers wait, control etc. ), but also statements from salesmanagers to treat the customers right. Dealerships are out to maximize profit (which is the theme of the article) , so it's buyer be aware... and informed.

    As I stated before, I am curious as to why there haven't been more articles on "Confessions of a Car Salesman"... a continuing series perhaps. "Confessions..." seems to have been a very popular article that is frequently quoted and brought up. Plant a bunch of writers in various dealerships, or have Edmunds throw out an e-mail request for "Confessions" from former salesmen. Oh man... just think of all the $$$ you guys could make. :P

    And isell... a Merry Christmas to you. We go back a long ways old friend... thanks for the heads up on my rant. ;)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    Oh, we like stories about good deals as well. They help other consumers MORE than the stories about getting a bad deal or getting screwed in some way.

    If you actually read the entire article, the undercover salesperson worked at two dealerships - one that was full of the "old school" tricks, and the other that wasn't bad.

    To me, the whole point of the article isn't to tarnish all salespeople; it's to help the consumer be more informed (I mean, even YOU guys tell consumers to avoid the "montly payment buyer" stuff), and to make them say hey, if you don't feel like your salesperson is being straight with you, go somewhere else!

    I did. After I experienced all of the tactics I listed, I found a nice place and the saleslady was terrific and we just talked about the vehicle I was interested in, and negotiated a price that made both of us happy. How easy is that? (I think it was brentwoodvolvo's old store) I will return there first and ask for her (she's still there) next time I'm shopping.

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  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    Whats with all the talks dishing the article? I mean they're based on real time experience. Okay maybe its been a while and some parts may need updates, but the basics remain the same. The so called no-haggle selling doens't really apply much anymore, with many of them now playing even dirtier tricks than the dirty ones.

    Sadly, these tricks are still being played. The only difference is they're being much softer on the outside, playing the nice guy more often and holding back on the pressuring.

    Before anyone ask, no I'm no car salesman but I have relatives working as dealership GMs and one who runs a Honda dealership in Cali.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,271
    "...We're putting out a series of "confessions"..."

    Come on, tell the truth. Karen S was just up late one night watching those "reality" shows and figured this topic would generate some good infighting between the sales people and the non-biz folks.

    I haven't read "Confessions of a Car Thief" yet. Tell me, is it about the buyers or the sellers? ;)

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    Please note that even luxury brand dealerships play those tricks. Another poster in a different forum experienced this bitterly when purchasing a misrepresented MB R-class from a dealer in MD. See, things havent improved much.

    Another difference, and this is a big one: consumers are much more informed and educated now, thanks to sites like Edmunds popping up all over the web. They're now armed with the necessary infos to handle the dealerships.

    That's the real difference imho.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    I haven't read "Confessions of a Car Thief" yet. Tell me, is it about the buyers or the sellers?

    We wouldn't want to spoil the ending on you so we'll just wait until you finish it. :P

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Another difference, and this is a big one: consumers are much more informed and educated now, thanks to sites like Edmunds popping up all over the web. They're now armed with the necessary infos to handle the dealerships.

    Good point. The "Confessions..." series provides necessary information for the consumer, not only about dealerships that do it the right way, but also the ones that tiptoe on, or past the line, of ethical acceptance.

    But, as I stated before, the title and lead-in quotes advertising the article aren't exactly fair. I mean what does "confession" mean, it means one has sinned, miss-spoken or distorted the truth, deceived or lied ... correct? :surprise:
  • I'm a veteran car salesman. I wouldn't do anything else for a living. That said, I have a long list of satisfied customers who are very important to me. I gross my deals. I also take care of my customers. Never heard any mention of the fact that Edmunds tells people what they want to hear, otherwise there'd be no ad revenue. Don't think for 1 minute this doesn't factor into the site content. Overall they do a decent job, but....
  • A lot of people get treated like a-holes because they act like a-holes. Ignorant people think they'll get a better deal if they're belligerent. Not at my place.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Never heard any mention of the fact that Edmunds tells people what they want to hear ...

    If you're suggesting that any part of the article was made up then please provide some concrete evidence. Innuendo is not the basis of sound argument.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
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