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Edmunds.com - Confessions of a Car Salesman

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
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

Comments

  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,728
    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 Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,728
    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: 20,225
    That worn out old article keeps resurfacing ad nauseum.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    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: 12,282
    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"

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • 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: 11,077
    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: 20,225
    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 Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,728
    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 $$$.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Increased readership/members equals increased advertising $$$.

    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: 20,225
    Cynical?? not Jipster!

    Why do you think I ignore him?
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,728
    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 Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,728
    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: 20,225
    Please keep this up. Maybe they will finally ban you!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    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 Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,728
    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: 11,077
    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: 13,471
    "...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? ;)

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • 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: 10,059
    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 Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,728
    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: 10,059
    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
  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    Or maybe he is the owner or manager of the dealership where the Edmunds agent worked undercover and reported the story. A case of sour grapes,maybe ! :P ;)
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    A case of sour grapes,maybe !

    That sounds like good twist on a certain John Steinbeck novel. :shades:

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • From my personal experience I didn't know how to buy a car until I got ripped off from a car dealership. That said I would buy a car from the same dealership and same salesman because even though I overpaid it was my fault for not being prepared and all he was doing was his job. Now I have been to lots of dealerships and they all try to pull the same stuff but as long as you know the prices and how to crunch the numbers they won't be able to pull anything over on you. What I worry the most about now is being lied to about the condition of the car but Ive noticed that they act differently when dealing with questionable cars or if the car is under priced and they don't tell you why. Then all you have to do is ask for the car fax and most of them spill the beans anyways. And I learned that if you get a loan through a car dealership they jack up the APR and right off the lot the cars are way overpriced and they are just waiting for people to come in that have no idea whats going on to sell them to. Ive avoided pushy car salesman to because for one they are impatient and mean and they won't even let you shop without nagging you after you ask them to let you look and if they are that pushy means they might do anything to make some bucks. BTW I didn't even read that ancient article I just thought i might get some tips about the way car saleman act to store in my head for later. Any good tips you guys got would be cool!
  • salemgurlsalemgurl Posts: 1
    edited April 2012
    So, it seems from my experience....

    *if you have bad credit and you are approved for an auto loan....
    *you have to accept whatever car the dealer approves you for....
    *you have to drive that car off the lot - asap (once the documentation is signed)

    Is this true?

    and if so, why? (*good reference point for others with bad credit)

    *Everyone would rather have the vehicle they actually like and pay the payments for that vehicle (especially if the vehicle they want is cheaper, and with lower miles than the vehicle they will ("put someone in" at a higher price)...

    sounds shady....but if you need a vehicle and they've found ONE bank to approve you....

    THEN WHAT?

    1) can you accept the auto loan from that bank

    AND

    2) not take the car the sales person wants you to take

    OR/ALSO,

    3) can the the person creating the loan DENY the "bad credit auto loan" ALL TOGETHER if the person with bad credit decides to use the "LOAN" elsewhere?

    Everyone would prefer for the salesperson to "hold" the approved loan for 30 days and locate the vehicle of their choice ---

    *for the approved upon loan amount

    ~~~~

    Thank you for your "positive" responses!
  • While buying from a perfectly polite sales person at an immaculate dealership, I pondered the technique where the dealer "discloses" invoice.

    My response: "You guys are doing great. I'm sure you can take care of your own interests.

    My interest lies in purchasing this vehicle for the lowest price possible. By the end of today, I'll be writing a check to someone. I hope it's you. Please give me your best shot."

    By the end of the day, I wrote the check for $1K below the Edmund's value.

    Conclusion: Ignore the dealer chatter and focus on your own goals. (This is especially effective with new cars, where you can buy from one guy and have it serviced by anyone!)
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    My interest lies in purchasing this vehicle for the lowest price possible. By the end of today, I'll be writing a check to someone. I hope it's you. Please give me your best shot."

    I totally understand the customers personal interest, I'm a consumer also.....Oddly the lowest possible price isn't the same to every consumer. If you get tortured, lied to and water boarded to get the lowest price is it really worth it? Quite a few dealers will administer such tactics with just about every customer. OTOH, walking in, seeing a pretty fair price posted for everyone on the car and being able to get in and out quickly without the dog and pony might be a very good deal to others.
  • karhill1karhill1 Posts: 163
    The price posted would be established by the dealer. Since this price is not subject to negotiation it cannot really be considered to be a "fair price."

    Some people may, indeed, be willing to pay more than a very good deal to avoid the "dog and pony show." I, as a car buyer, am glad there are such people as the profit they provide to a dealer allows me to achieve a much better price.

    As mikeytp showed, the Edmunds TMV is simply an average price paid. Inherent in an average price paid is half of buyers pay more while half pay less. Personally, I would prefer to pay less. It really does not take much effort to pay less.
  • Sandman6472Sandman6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,928
    Agree totally...I want both sides to feel that it was a fair deal with both sides walking away happy with the deal. Car buying should not be a death match every time but a pleasant experience. They have a product I want to buy and I have the money to spend on that product. Civility and honesty need to be two very important variables in this equation as I still believe that word of mouth is a very tangible asset and both sides realize this. No one wants to be driving a vehicle they feel like they paid to much for as it will ruin the experience for as long as one owns that vehicle. i know I want to walk away with a very positive feeling since this is one of the biggest investments made at certain intervals over one's lifetime.

    Make it easy, fun and affordable and I'm one happy camper!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2015 Audi A3 (wife) / 2015 Golf TSI (me) / 2019 Chevrolet Cruze Premier RS (daughter #1) / 2008 Hyundai Accent GLS (daughter #2)

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,282
    Agree totally...I want both sides to feel that it was a fair deal with both sides walking away happy with the deal. Car buying should not be a death match every time but a pleasant experience. They have a product I want to buy and I have the money to spend on that product.

    I agree 100%. I don't want to leave $1,000 on the table but I'm not going to obsess over the fact that someone else might have paid a few dollars less. I'm not in retail sales, but I have noticed that those grinders who fight tooth and nail to save the very last penny tend to be pretty miserable individuals.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

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