Has Car Shopping Changed Since "Confessions of a Car Salesman"?

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edited September 2014 in General

imageHas Car Shopping Changed Since "Confessions of a Car Salesman"?

In 2000, an Edmunds editor went undercover as a car salesman and found some unsavory practices. Have things improved for car buyers since then?

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  • knowledgepowerknowledgepower Member Posts: 1
    This update hits the nail on the head, the industry hasn't changed much since your article that I read also. Customers changed the industry, they are much more prepared now than they used to be. At the beginning of the information age they were armed with information but some of it was wrong (i.e. invoices without transportation or advertising cost). Now there is plenty of good stuff for customers to obtain research with. Most dealers will remain old school in their ways because that is how they were taught, until they straighten up and fly right it will be business as usual.
  • knowledgepowerknowledgepower Member Posts: 1
    This update hits the nail on the head, the industry hasn't changed much since your article that I read also. Customers changed the industry, they are much more prepared now than they used to be. At the beginning of the information age they were armed with information but some of it was wrong (i.e. invoices without transportation or advertising cost). Now there is plenty of good stuff for customers to obtain research with. Most dealers will remain old school in their ways because that is how they were taught, until they straighten up and fly right it will be business as usual.
  • driverthegreatdriverthegreat Member Posts: 0
    I good deal is a state of mind.
  • corndog50corndog50 Member Posts: 1
    Being a true "Sales Professional" is tough. Because of the history involved with the snakes that brought it about, people just have no trust. Which is understandable. I've been doing this 5 years now. And people get to know and like me. We are all salespeople truely, you sold your wife to marry you date you have kids, sold your boss to give you the raise or even the job in most aspects, so if you only got paid 3% over whatever your job and company entails you to do then you wouldn't have that 40, 50, 100k a year job that we all strive for. The thing about this is, when you consider every aspect of detail that it takes in explaining how the cars work and all the features. Its not even the major things its the little things that make the biggest impact. I can almost surely say that in 5-10 years I will not want to be doing this anymore. The customers are getting better but, the cars will almost drive themselves.... park assist, side blindzone alerts, front cameras, thumb activated fan and volume controls.... Lets go back to the old days, when people knew how to drive! But overall for both articles, i fully agree and have been on the forefront to change the way I deal with people and the way our dealership operates is for the Customer Service. Not all of us are snakes in this profession, so give all of us a fair chance, and you will receive a good deal.
  • pm2kar50pm2kar50 Member Posts: 1
    You're right about one thing. Having to go buy a vehicle and talk to care salesmen IS worse than having a root canal. You know....you KNOW that you're gonna get screwed one way or another. There's another category of buyer though, that you overlooked, and that's the buyer whose credit is in the toilet. Unfortunately, I'm one of them. What I've found is when you go to the lots and dealers that will even look at you, you're screwed. The inflated price you see on the vehicle is the price you're going to pay, period. Once it's known your credit's bad, they know they have you by the balls. They won't negotiate, and once you finance it, 18-24% is the norm. There should be a way to get around these vultures, because they are REALLY giving the industry a bad name.
  • bickatbyersbickatbyers Member Posts: 4
    It kills me that "Wortman" sold three to four cars a month.

    He was taking up space at a desk, he was not a salesman.

    I've been selling for 16 years. My number one goal is to do a good enough job to get a permanent customer, and referrals.

    I never concern myself with how much gross profit there is on any one car deal.

    The biggest and costliest mistake a consumer can make, is to buy the wrong car.

    Buying a midsize SUV for example when you've got three young children who will outgrow it in several years can cost you $10,000 dollars.

    A good salesman presents you with good alternatives, and earns his or her commission.

    This profession is in no danger of going away, except for individuals and dealerships who don't adapt.
  • bickatbyersbickatbyers Member Posts: 4
    One of the commenters mention invoices without "transportation" cost.

    I'm curious, do you folks think the transport drivers, and rail companys bring these cars to you for free.

    Why is that a negotiable item?

    You folks make this harder thatn you need to.

    Simply get quotes from three or four dealers, and you will get the "best" price. If you want to be a total jerreal sure, then call them all back and offer them a chance to beat it.

    None of the other garbage you read on these sites really matters.
  • bickatbyersbickatbyers Member Posts: 4

    I suggest your working with the wrong salespeople or dealers.

    Every dealership charges Doc fees, limits set by the state.

    Every dealers passes along transportation cost.

    Every dealer charges tax, title, and license.

    Every dealer trys to sell aftermarkets, because margins as so low even on used cars now.

    If you never feel pressured or tricked into buying a car or aftermarkets walk away.

    Consumer Reports buying guide is very thorough, 3-4% over net, net is pretty close to invoice.

    The most important question is. Is the car worth it, and will someone else sell it to me for less.
  • bickatbyersbickatbyers Member Posts: 4
    When you've got screwed up credit, you've got to realize that in many cases it's the lender that cleans up.

    Dealers have to pay fees, to get the laons approved. As much as 15% of the purchase price.

    In most cases, that is the total margin in the car. As a salesperson, I don't enjoy working with people who have screwed up credit.

    They are timeconsuming, rarely satisfied, and get turned down about 75% of time that you do the same worked that would have otherwise earned you a commission.

    They also come back frequently because of misleading applications.

    The only reason I work with them, is to be helpful and because I am obligated to by my dealership.

    Occasionally it turns out really well, with a lower than expected rate or just a really satisfied customer.
  • toyotaricktoyotarick Member Posts: 1
    I have sold used cars for 20 years.The car bussiness is nothing like the way it used to be.The cust has way more info and wants more from the dealership.You have some guy sell for a few months has all the answers but not able to make a living.maybe the car bussiness woul be better off if articles like this had some truth to them.
  • thatlaoguythatlaoguy Member Posts: 3
    I'm in the market for a new car and it'll be my first buying one for myself. Last time I received a new car, my parents did all the work. After doing a bit of research about dealerships and their dirty tricks, it made me a smarter buyer. I'm not saying I'm and expert, but I now I know what to expect. Being a recent college grad and with a decent career, I probably would have been taken advantage of. A month ago, as I was browsing websites looking at all the shiny new cars, I expected to pay the msrp that was listed on the sites. Basically, I was going to end up in a dealer paying full price and I guarantee you they would have taken it and laughed about it as I drove off.

    Nowadays, I'm asking myself these questions
    1. What is the purpose of a salesmen when I do my own homework and know what it is I want in terms of needs, performance, price, and colour? Isn't there a way to cut out the middleman(salesmen) and get the car for it's (true) invoice price?

    Now I understand the dealer has to make money as well and that's fine. I'm more than happy to pay the dealer for their services and all but the salesmen are obsolete in this day and age. You spend 4 hours helping someone? I spend 3 hours a night for 2 months researching my next big purchase in life. I'm entitled to my hard earned money.

    2. is the listed invoice price truly what the dealer pays for the car?

    I compared invoice prices from cars in the 90s to cars now. I'm seeing a difference of $2,000 to $3000 from invoice to msrp from older cars in the 90s.

    Checking invoice prices for cars within the past year or so, I'm only seeing a difference of about $1000. This comes off as a bit fishy and reading how people are paying invoice for their cars and walking out happy strikes me as odd. Where is the dealer making the cash if they're selling the cars for the amount they've bought it for?

    I've got a feeling the invoice price has been manipulated in some way or another or some other fees were added to ensure that the dealers would still make money despite internet buyers walking in and demanding to pay invoice. This is the only explanation I can come up with.

    This is a shady business indeed. I have not concluded that I'll be buying from private owners instead of ever buying from dealerships. I just can't trust the practice the more articles I read about how dirty these folks are.

    I often see these salesmen come on here and cry to the public about how they're good people just trying to make a living yet would turn around and laugh at the buyer after they've duped them. Sure, not everyone is shady like that, but from what I've got and experienced, it seems that way. You make a living by marking up the prices of cars to earn a bigger commission? I don't get why your dinner and your kids tuition has to come at our expense. You guys don't manufacture the cars yourself. Your only job is to hand us the keys and be present as we take the car out for a test drive. I don't think that's worth 3-4 grand over invoice. People should be able to tip you for the time. 10 bucks and hour you spend helping is fair.

    I also see these salesmen come on here and tell us that if we're nice and polite to the salesmen, we'll walk out with a good deal and it'll be a better buying experience. DEFINE a GOOD DEAL!?
    Seriously, this is what i've seen from all the "good guys" in the sales department. A good deal for me is buying the car for (true) invoice as well as paying the dealer a set amount for their troubles and work. Everyone is happy except the obsolete salesmen.
  • cliffvettejcliffvettej Member Posts: 1
    I spent 25 years in the car business. There are some bad, old school dealers still out there but a great majority of the dealers are very good and treat the customers great. I remember some people wanted to know why they could not just order a car from the factory themselves. Okay. Then you can perfect your own paperwork with the State. Arrange your own financing. So what you say? Now how about this. How about taking the car back to the factory everytime you need warranty work done? If there are no dealers you would have no place to get FACTORY AUTHORIZED WARRANTY WORK completed. What about parts? I guess you could order them on the internet and then go find someone who is qualified to install them ( I am not talking about cheap after market parts). No dealers?!! You must be kidding.
  • bennyb44875bennyb44875 Member Posts: 2
    Has not every business in the last 20-30 years changed? Where did you buy hardware items before Home Depot of Lowes? Have we not shut down the small business owner that actually knew and understood your hardware needs when purchasing these items? How about going to find a nice suit or a pair of shoes? Those old stores are long and gone, replaced with chain discount stores with zit faced clerk’s that have no idea how to size a jacket or match it with a pair of nice loafers! American’s have loathed buying a car, why? Is it they know they are to lazy to get their car cleaned and detailed to sell it themselves? Or is it that Americans have grown a custom expecting to get everything for nothing (we do live in a time where everyone gets a trophy, even if you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time)?
    In both articles the two gentlemen do say how difficult selling automobiles are. They both seem to make light the reason. The reason it is difficult isn’t because of an “old school” boss or dealership. The reason it is difficult is the consumer. Why blame anyone for selling you something that you are not either educated or smart enough to walk away from something you don’t want? We live in times where you can scan a television and see who has the best price within 30 miles! We live in times of the internet, where you can shop car prices from San Francisco, CA to Mt. Airy, NC!
    Every customer deserves the right to be treated 100% as they treat others! That is true in every aspect of life, not just the Automobile business. Walk into a restaurant treat a server with no respect, the dinner has the right to kick you out! Making a offer on a car, is no different than making a offer on a home! No one stands outside of a home, and makes an offer without stepping a foot inside the door! “Give your best price, or I am leaving!” A) In most states a real estate agent isn’t allowed to quote any price other than the seller’s price! B) Who would ever consider spending 50k-500k on a home without looking at every room? People do it everyday with cars, then complain when they get home and the vehicle isn’t what they expected and call the next day to say “I have 3 days to bring it back right?”
    Buying a car is simple, research your purchase. Attempt to sell your trade (if you can’t don’t expect to receive equal compensation as to what a Dealer would sell your trade). Call a bank and get pre-approved (we all believe banks are way more trust worthy than car dealerships, banks didn’t get 1 cent of bailout money). Make a offer, why wait for the dealer to give you their best price? Buy the vehicle at Your best price! I am not a journalist, but sell Vehicles; I do and have made very good friends with customers in the process, people have also gotten very mad at me, this happens to every person in every profession, it is called life…not the car business!
  • bennyb44875bennyb44875 Member Posts: 2
    And why do people expect to pay what a deal would pay for a car? Give me 2 examples of where this happens in any other buisness? Please.. all of you that own or work in a small buisness where you offer your goods at your price?
  • emyhemyh Member Posts: 1
    This story is weaaaaak!! You are definitely not a car salesman. I can walk into any dealership in any state in this country and make an easy 6 figure income.
  • carman4444carman4444 Member Posts: 1
    I have been a sales professional in the auto industry for 40 years with a major US luxury maker. I think this response to a car salesperson is a bunch of bull!!! I can really tell you what a pro goes thru every day.What I read is fiction and not realty. Give me an opportunity and I will really tell and teach you . JA
  • emptyracyemptyracy Member Posts: 1
    The reason people avoid car salesmen is because too many (not all) salesmen are 'temps' looking to make a quick buck by selling as much as they can without caring about the buyer and looking to get out or move up the ladder as soon as possible. To these 'temp' salespeople selling cars isn't a profession, but a temporary gig until something better comes along. The problem from the buyers perspective is that we don't know whether we'll get a professional or a 'temp' when we go to the lot. Watch the TV series "King of Cars" and you'll see what I mean. That's why I bought my car using a broker. I told him what I wanted and how much I wanted to pay then he found it for me. It was the best car buying decision I've ever made.
  • anthrslsmnanthrslsmn Member Posts: 1
    I was a mechanic for quite a while, and I was the bad guy then. Now I sell cars, and I'm still the bad guy. Everyone thinks they're getting screwed and there's secret invoices and hidden money that is getting thrown around in the back. People are upset because they just don't understand what's going on. Truthfully, there is almost no mark-up or money to be made on most deals. On top of this, everyone thinks they should be able to buy cars for the invoice price. The very idea is insane. Why should we have to sell you the vehicle without any real profit? It's frustrating to work a deal the whole way through just to find out someone is going to skip out on the deal.
  • chaz16chaz16 Member Posts: 1
    I woiuld like to see all the car salesmen get fired and cars be sold by major retailers like Amazon or Wal-Mart.
  • kleinerkleiner Member Posts: 4
    This is really good information. It is worse than a root canal
  • tforr123tforr123 Member Posts: 1
    FIRST THING, its very obvious that when the writer went in to this "investigation" to "enlighten" the world to how corrupt and rich car guys are that it was very one sided. If youre going to investigate the post office do you interview the guy that got hired yesterday, works horrible hours, and doesnt see his family or do you talk to a man thats been there for twenty years about to retire and have experienced it all in his job. The truth of the matter is car sales has changed since the past. The bad rep came from not having to disclose to customers what they were paying for leases, so salesman would switch customers from a buy to a lease for more gross. Laws have changed drastically to protect the buyer. FURTHERMORE ive been selling cars for about 3 years ive been successful. I can tell you my perceptions from when i was 6 months in to 3 years in about this business have changed. I could see how a green pea could listen to to veterans and think the business is some what suspect, but you gotta remember that veteran has been told hes a horrible person by the customer everyday for X amount of years and still tried to help them with a smile. As far as not negotiating with subpar credit... OF COURSE NOT! its going to take more work to get you done by a bank and its going to take the dealerships buying power to get the deal done. More work means more time which means less oppurtunity to sell people that have paid there bills on time. I ALSO I HAVE HORRIBLE CREDIT... BUT I DID IT TO MYSELF and am mature enough at 24 to recognize that. If youre not happy with that why dont you go get pre approved by a bank? Of course you could always buy private party... DO YOU THINK THEYRE NOT OUT TO MAKE MONEY ALSO? they have less cost therefore can sell for less pretty simple...good luck bringin it back to the private seller to get fixed bc they stand behind their car ZERO. The truth is the internet has taken the average gross profit and dropped it significantly. It's simple. Find the cars youre interested in type them in to the computer see which dealerships offer the best prices and inquire! The customer makes it worse than having a root canal with pre conceived notions, zero trust, and not listening to a seasoned sales associate. IF you have the right salesman he should be able to explain the whole process to you to make you feel comfortable enough to pull the trigger.

    customers stop complaining do research and stop calling us criminals were ppl like you that show up to work and go home to our families, except we have the joy of being abused by you consumers daily. Read this and dont misunderstand anger for frustration.
  • shubeshube Member Posts: 1
    You realize the fake fern in the corner of the showroom could sell 3-4 cars a month. The psychology you speak of, is nothing more then making someone comfortable spending their hard earned money with you. This is done by actually listening to a customers needs and wants, and conducting yourself with honesty and integrity. Ive been selling cars for 8 years and have never lied to a customer. Furthermore youd be surprised how many college educated people come in looking at a 30,000 car and want their payment to be 350.00 a month. I wouldnt take to much stock, in someone who failed miserably, sounds more like someone with a chip on his shoulder, then anything eye opening, or informative.
  • mikeevmikeev Member Posts: 1
    I spent 25 years in the "Car Business" and I'm glad to be out of it. I started in parts and service and worked my way into sales. It didn't take long to figure out all the "money" was in used cars. Eventually I opened my own small used operation. We sold trucks mainly and treate dthe clients as we would want to be treated. The old adage of you want a car but you NEED a truck was the motivation behind going with trucks. All the same situations applied especially the credit worthiness of the clients. We started carrying our own contracts and saw the writting on the wall as new car profits shrank and sales forces at the franchised stores were not only be reduced but the number of veteran sales people had all but vanished. In 1972 I was selling Lincolns in my first sales job. A new Mark IV avragedd $10,400 with about $3600 in profit at window and we did not discount. Boom! Oil embargho #1 hits. and we are giving these cars away at $8000. It never came back fully. The four square? Best piece of stratedgy out there. My late father-in-law told me how he showed the owners of the store he managed how computers would cost them needed profits but they wouldn't listen. "Once it is on a TV screen you are locked in with little or no manuevering ability", he told them. He was correct. I'm now comfortably retired and don't miss a day of it. The sad truth is this: Many a car salesman made a lot of money in the day and they spent it. The economy always suffered when the car business was bad. The old saying was, " So goes the car business, so goes the economy". May still apply somewhat.
  • channel70channel70 Member Posts: 1
    Read the book, Moving Iron, before even thinking about buying a car.
  • gotohowardgotohoward Member Posts: 1
    I worked for 4 dealers over several years, and even did over a year in an intenet dept for a multi franchise dealer. The car business and buying a car is a piece of cake. Of course, all the players still exist, and that includes the customer like you have described, but the bottom line is an alway has been the pursuit of a satisfied customer. The dealerships are mostly starving these days. The economy mostly prescribes that. Selling vehicle once you have an interested parts is mostly paint by the colors. You can't really spend all your time trying to perform tricks to sell a car. Most people aren't idiots, and believe it or not, most of the time when you get an idiot buyer, it's the hardest sale of all. The just smudge their fingers all over your finely tuned canvas with question after question after question. I rather deal with an informed buyer. It's a cut to the chase proposition where both sides are mostly satisfied. You were right that most of the time it doesn't take a "car guy" to sell well in a dealership. I wasn't one, and in the short run I could hold my own with any veteran. The long run is a little different because these guys are career monkeys in cars. They'll probably end up selling more cars over a lifetime. The Hank Aaron's of cars.

    I'm glad I had the experience and especially dealing over the internet. I found that working with people online was tedious at times, it afforded me the opportunity of spending more time doing what I like best in sales...going over product details. Once I got a customer in it would go pretty smoothly, because I was just delivering what we had talked about. The only issue I have with all that you've reported on about the car business is that you try to make it comical in a way that people are manipulated and practices are somehow neandrathal and creepy. I believe that those things really reside in the person. The sales people, managers, customers, and in your case the sneaky quasi undercover agent. You may find that you are more "car sales guy" than someone pretending that he was just moonlighting to expose the big bad wolf.

    That being said, buying and selling cars can actually be fun. Vehicles are really a marvel, and the process to some is engaging. My older brother actually enjoys going on lots to talk with salesmen and buying cars. He does it to release tension if you can believe it. It's absolutely true.
  • mikifinmikifin Member Posts: 1
    I have been selling cars for 24 years now. When people understand that most sales people are just trying to make a living and not there to take them to the bank things are so much easier. It is amazing some of the things that salesman actually go through. I had one lady a few years back actually drive 5 different Mercury Sables. She was comparing the exact same cars just different colors. She wanted to see how the blue drove differently then the red and so on!
    We now have the internet which takes most of the guess work out of it for the customer. All they have to do is a little home work. The prices are easy to find and it really isn't brain surgery. The only difficult part for the custamer is being able to look at their trade the way the dealer does. It has a cash value and sentiment had nothing to do with it. Kelley blue book is generally fairly close but it is an investment. They are investing money in your car for one reason and that is to turn a profit. Trade-in values are always going to be wholesale. The dealer will on many occasions put $1000.00 - $2000.00 or more into a trade just to make it lot ready.
    I read where one guy actually said they would like to have it like Wal-mart. That's just stupid. As long as people need to finance and title the vehicles let alone learn how to use the GPS, the blue-tooth and all the other idiosyncrasies of each and every vehicle. It could never be done by a retail location like that. It generally takes at least an hour to do a proper presentation for the customer. That would never happen at Wal-mart or K-mart.
  • thatguy42thatguy42 Member Posts: 1
    To All the Car Sales Whiners:

    You guys have reaped what you sowed. My former profession (Life Insurance Sales - 18 years) has done, and continues to do, the same thing: there are far, far more unscrupulous sales "professionals" out there than honest ones. Your industry has refused to police itself for the past 60 years (at least) and you wonder why people don't want to deal with you? For every 'honest' dealership out there, there are dozens who are not and who drive their sales staff to use the same "hammer" methods they used 10, 15, 20 years ago. (One guy told my girl friend that the car had "heated" rims and was therefore safer. Another finance jerk wanted to sell her overpriced "replacement" insurance. Needless to say, standing up and walking out was the result.)

    I regret moving too far away to keep my old sales professional (who I purchased four cars from in 10 years ...the last two I drove over three hours to pick up the cars).

    Thank goodness for the Internet and sites like Edmunds.com. Even with their help, buying a car from most dealerships is like pulling teeth. It may be necessary, but I don't have to like it.
  • kahs101kahs101 Member Posts: 1
    I have been in the car buisness for 22 years.I will tell you that where I live there are numerous state and federal laws that have been put in place to protect the consumer.Some of these laws go as far as putting an unnecessary burden on the dealership.We do not use 4 square sheets we use desk quotes with full disclosure of discount seperate from trade.We also disclose payment and rate and term.We are the future and we proudly stand by our product new or used.We even have a 4 day return policy.So the choice is yours people! Do you want to buy from a dinosauer dealership or from people that get it?I think I know your answer.By the way Im sure if this guy that sold cars for 6 months was able to make a living at selling cars his tune would be different.How can we pick apart the authors job? Im sure if we wanted to we could find plenty of things with anyone.
  • davenescdavenesc Member Posts: 1
    I have been selling cars for 27 years. I have seen the changes in the car business first hand. Most of the clients I talk to every day are looking for guidance to help them solve the puzzle of what they need. They have many questions about the new hybirds and how they work. They have questions about navigation systems and if they are worth the investment. Bluetooth. Satilite Radios. Radios that sync up to a customers cell phone. Most clients are very concerned with gas mileage and if the cars that get good MPG will still suit thier needs. I will explain the changes in the 4 cylinder engines that make them a great deal more powerful than V6 engines of just a decade ago and why. Transmissions are changing and the changes in the Safety of these new cars will make you head swim.
    I know the answers to these questions and millions more in great detail. This is my profession. To assist a client to the right car for his or her wants and needs. The money is secondary. The mark up in cars has dropped as incentives have gone up. The Factory rebates and special interest rates are paid for by dealers by reducing the markup in the price. So give the client a fair price in the right car and a deal is made. No drama needed or wanted on either side. I take care of the client after the sale with loaner cars and help with any service problems and they will spread the word.
    To think that you have an intimate knowledge of the car bussiness because you spent a couple of months stumbling blindly into a few deals a month is like saying I am a professional journalist because I just wrote a comment on a blog.
  • chess63chess63 Member Posts: 1
    I spent twenty plus years in the automobile industry selling most of the brands available including Rolls Royce, yet I am always amazed at the public and the opinions you hear about Automobile Salespersons because it is the buyers who make the purchase difficult or impossible! Wow you say, how can that be as the given perception is that all Automoble Salespersons are liars
    and cheats and making tons of money off the unsuspecting customer..This just isnt the case, first of all the Automobile Dealers have millions of dollars invested to provide you with a good selection of vehicles which is a necessary product for Americans and the Dealers are intitled to make a profit as are the salespersons to make a living for being there to SERVE YOU! Thats right SERVE YOU, as the average salesperson works seventy to eighty hours a week, goes to classes every week and must be certifited in product knowledge to sell Automobiles and unless you can sell in volumn of ten to fifteen vehiles a month and hold a respectfull profit you will likely end up making mimimum wage, thats why only one out of a hundred Automoble Salespersons can make it a year in the business. If you really want an enjoyable experience buying a car, drive into a dealership, meet a salesperson, select a vehicle you want to own, have your trade appraised, tell the Salesperson you want to pay MSRP,Manufactured Suggested Retail Price, take the trade value offered, provide a 10% cash down payment and except the financing terms and insurances offered, the dealer makes the profit he deserves, the salesperson a decent living and you can have the best damn car buying experience of a lifetime...
    Thats not going to happen though, thats when the negotiations start and in a Capitalist Society that is the way it should be, if you could not negotiate your back at paying full MSRP anyway and the Dealers who do not negotiate only pay there Salespersons a base salary and minimum commissions that amounts to minimum wage no Automotive Professional Salesperson will work for that and your left again with a GREEN PEA who doesnt know anything about the product your looking at or how to access your wants and needs... Buyers always want to much for there trades and want to believe that a Dealer can keep his doors open by selling at Dealer Invoice without any profit, folks that will kill the American Car Buying Dream.
    The East Germans under Soviet control during the cold war, were
    only ALLOWED to attain a automobile if they were a devout communist, waiting seven years for there car to be built a Trabaunt,
    making payments on a car for seven years that they
    could NEVER own before they could drive it. (All realestate and automobiles were property of the state) they kept the same car FOR EVER as they were only allowed to have one. The Trabaunt had a three cylinder engine, manual transmission, no emissions, no safety items or safety glass, metal, a poor grade of tires, no heater, radio or air conditioner, a choice of six colors a body so thin it may have been made from tin and thats exactly what the American people will get if the art of negotiation dies in the Automobile Industry. If you dont believe it take a look at Flint Michigan, my home town the six Automobile Factories there gave thousands of hard workers the American dream, today the factories have been bull dozed down to the concrete slab and now Flint is one of the poorest cities in the US. So next time you go to buy a car be nice to the Salesperson who is there to ASSIST YOU, providing information, asking questions so that they can HELP YOU find the right vehicle for your needs and wallet, they dont like the manager to have to come in to close a deal and once you have arrived at
    an exceptable offer the Dealer can make a small profit by taking
    the deal and HOPE you have good enough credit and down payment to purchase or you have just wasted three hours of a salespersons time!!! I had a 99% customer satisfaction average and sold many of my customers cars for years to them and there family members. Hey you know what might be a noval idea would to return to Dealership, whether you purchased or not and surprize
    your Salesperson by offering them and there significant other
    a Gift Certificate to a Steak House for working for hours and hours
    in the heat, rain or cold, making minimum wage and putting up with your crap just to HELP YOU find the right vehicle and deal!!!
    Totally fed up with the customer is always right and that the PROFESSIONALS in the Automobile Industry are inhuman, unfeeling, liars and thiefs, if you really think so try working as one and see if you can even make six months....
  • niceputtniceputt Member Posts: 23
    For many years I've researched price. Everything, hold backs, etc. sometimes it comes out below 'invoice'. I always factor in a little profit for the dealer, then begin emailing dealers, givng them specs and ask one question...will you take this amount. Yes or no. Sometimes it takes patience as you expand your search geographically, but I have NEVER failed to get my price, once as much as $7k below MSRP.
  • swissvalianswissvalian Member Posts: 1
    It had been 11 years since I had to set foot in a dealership up until last month. A relative agreed to sell me his old car as he was buying a new one. Instead of selling it to me directly, he chose to trade it in on his new car and told the salesman to sell it to me (Why? I don't know.) But the relative assumed I would be charged what he got on a trade-in.

    I went to the dealership (one of the largest in the area) that Saturday to do the deal. The price is $2,000 more than the relative got on a trade-in. They "can't find the title" so I have to suffer two hours of hard-sell on extended warranties, paint treatments, etc. etc. When I said I was going home and will come back when they find the title, they say they called someone at home to come in and find it, so I should wait just a little longer.

    In reality they hadn't finished detailing the car (the detailing my relative paid $100 to have done). When I again said I was leaving they miraculously found the title but then admitted they hadn't finished the detailing. I wasn't going to come back if I didn't have to so I took it as is, with the det

    I'm OK with people making a profit so they can stay in business. I did not expect them to handle it for free. But it turned out the extra $2,000 included $800 profit and $250 "documentation fee".

    My relative has bought cars from this salesman for 20 years and was astounded they would mark it up so much for a guaranteed sale in two days. He's not a confrontative person so he won't say anything about it, he's just not going to buy cars from that dealer any more, and there's no chance I ever will after that "looking for the title" BS.
  • andrewwallaceandrewwallace Member Posts: 1
    I have been selling cars for about eight years. I have seen the car business change quite a bit. I want to point out what should be obvious to everyone that has posted comments on here. ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING you eat, drink, drive, live in, or own was sold by a salesman at one point or another. It's easy to pick on a car salesman because we are right in front of you, but so is the realtor ( look at their commissions) I understand that a consumer that does not do any homework before buying a car may pay more than they had to,... damn the salesman right? Sounds to me like someone isnt accepting their own faults. If I was in school and didn't study for a test, is it the teachers fault if I fail? Think about it, curse the salesman all you can but in reality every single thing you buy, unless your buying it straight from the person that made it, part of the price you pay is going to a salesman. Advertising agents, athletic scouts, grocery stores that carry your favorite potato chips, all need to sell their product or you don't get it, period. There are good and bad in every profession. I took my son to a movie last night, for him and I to sit in a crowded theater with a soda and popcorn I spent about 50 bucks, but I am the one thats over paid? really? What about the fact that it takes 60 bucks to fill my little car from empty? I think before we start trying to take jobs from people or discriminate salesman across the board, we need to take a closer look at ourselves and where all of our hardearned money really goes. Compare any car salesmans paycheck to any "honest" politician. I'm actually starting to make myself laugh at how rediculous this article really is. I am a single father just trying to provide for my boys and pay my outrageous rent, utilities, gas, and food.
  • sdotmarcussdotmarcus Member Posts: 1
    For your next journey you should get an undercover gig at the Hershey's Chocolate factory. After a 3 month stint as a assembly line worker; you should post all of their secrets recipes online. Dont foget the to mention the facts/not your personal opinion. Also make sure you smear everyone in that profession like you did on your last stint(w/ auto sales), so that everyday people can assume Automotive Consultant's = "Sleazy Car Saleman" or in this case the "assembly line worker's" are "lazy...... Its great how you leave out the amount of gross you can accumulate from a client who actually enjoys doing business with you. (no strings attached) Your old confession was very imformative for individauls who are negative and umotived whiners in the business, it motivated them to whine more. People alreadly have a bad outlook dealing w/ automotive sales professionals, you just make the car buying experience more difficult than has to be. All the customer has to do is some research on "Edmunds" or other simular internet portals prior to purchasing the vehicle. This new Q/A article is just absurd.

    I was a Auto Sales Consultant at 3 different dealerships, all differnt brands, sizes and ownership for about 5 years. I made decent money and built a great clientele. After completing my BA in accounting and passing CPA exam im a partner in a Accounting Firm in Washington D.C. . I wouldn't be here if I hadn't worked in the automotive sales field. I do miss the crazy Saturday Sales and Joking around in the down time, it was fun.
  • rzorbcksfanrzorbcksfan Member Posts: 1
    I have been in the car business for over 20 years. It is true that there are under handed and dishonest car salesmen...the same as there are under handed and dishonest contractors, electricians, politicians and so on and so forth. What amazes me most about the concept of Confessions of Car Salesman is that a car salesman has to justify the price he charges for a vehicle. This does not happen in many other industries. When was the last time you asked to see the invoice on a computer at Best Buy or a pair of jeans at WalMart? Do you ask your Doctor to justify the rate for his service? Of course not! Yet it is not only accepted practice to beat up a car salesman over price, it is practically mandated that you consider him a crook! In fact, most car salesmen are hard working professionals who are only trying to make sure you buy from them rather than from anyone of the thousands of competitors. We are not crooks. We are fathers and mothers, tax payers, and concerned citizens. We are volunteers at charity events and at Church. We give of our time and our efforts to help our communities, and we work selling cars.
  • gmangmc1gmangmc1 Member Posts: 1
    Proof once again system selling does not work. Most dealerships think their sales license is a license to steal. By providing "word tracks"
    and "closers" the dealer principal tries to control the transaction, and is looking for a "front" for the dealerships dishonesty. This is why "straight sales" stores are a thing of the past ,along with professional salespeople.
  • munchymunchy Member Posts: 1
    @ thatlaoguy

    The invoice price you beleive is being manipulated is the true invoice price. I sell Chevrolet, and I can promise you that. The way that we are able to make money still by selling at invoice price is what we call a Hold Back. Basicall
  • rolliebrollieb Member Posts: 1
    Car sales hasn't changed in 20 yrs. Salesmen still use closing techniques, Desk Managers still offer the lowest they possibly can on your trade and the F&I office still tries to make a homerun on the back end of the deal with added useless warranties and applications. Todays Dealerships and salesmen hate todays buyer because today they is are an educated and informed buyer. makes running a game much more difficult.
    If I can offer one piece of advice to future car buyers is this: When shopping for a new car narrow it down to three, most Rental agencies such as Enterprise,Hertz, Alamo ect already have that same car in their inventory. rent one for the weekend, drive it in the country, on the freeway or on a rough road. Pretty soon you'll find things you like and things you don't and that makes you an informed buyer. At the end of the day a Car dealership is only interested in one thing: Ringing the till, everything else is secondary.
  • turfkingturfking Member Posts: 1
    I have not met a car salesman that is truthful and trustworthy. Buying a car is a painful task because of all the BS thrown at you by 2 digit IQ guys who think they know everything. Purchasing a new car should be enjoyable but it is very time consuming and overall it just plain SUCKS.
  • carsalesman5carsalesman5 Member Posts: 1
    thatlaoguy, that article makes you sound ignorent. Dealerships make money on used cars, service and parts, and holdback on new cars. There is little markup on new vehicles anymore, and noone makes false invoices. They all come from the same source.Salesmaen DO like to make a few thousand dollars gross on a car deal if possible, thats how we earn a living, but i promise, noone is buying cars for more than retail, if you do, it's not your salesperson, it's you! And for people with poor credit, You are not getting screwed, except by the banks with your high interest, and keep crying...someone you have never met and do not know id handing you thousands of dollars for a car, and you have a bad reputation for paying back your creditors., so be happy with your high interest or go to the tote the note and pay way more for a piece of crap. So take your whiney little but to the jewelry store, or grocery store, or any other retail establishment, and complain about their prices, because you know what? They are making money on you too. And go toj your job and be embarrased! you know why, because if you were not taking making money for your company, you would not have that job. If there werent salespeople, there would be no negotiating, and you would pay sticker price. Then what, who would you complain about? So quit crying, and quit complaining because cars cost so much. and quit acting like you know the business. Get a good car deal. That means buying something you are happy with. We have to buy cars too, and all of them are expensive. When you can sell cars, make a good living, and have respect and returning customers as well as constant referrals from your customers, then you can tell me what is involved in the business. Untill then, remember, the people that we make more money on are usually the ones that are happier with their experience, because they dont try to act like they know everything. Relax, find the right car, get the financing or cost to fit your budget, and let the salesperson take care of you. We make money!!! thats why we are here to sell you cars in the first place. If you dont like that, go buy a horse or a good pair of walking shoes. Nevermind, those are marked up for profit too. sorry, sounds like you are sol!
  • veccioveccio Member Posts: 1
    I can't wait until the Tesla / Apple Computer business model drives the sleazy car dealership model out to pasture. Sure, there are franchise laws. But people are learning from the Apple Computer model, with the manufacturer setting up stores directly.
    Let me put it this way: who ever thanked their local alcohol distributor for making things more costly, propping up an unnecessary oligopoly and then of course having the honor of being charged 10, 20+ % more?
    I sincerely hope the useless car dealership's days are over. I don't need to pay them extra money to finance a car. Cars sell themselves, right?
  • ron242ron242 Member Posts: 2
    Where do you think they got the comment you lose $5000 value when you drive off the lot. That is the amount the dealer gets how do you think those dealers manage to expand to more locations the more they charge over the cost of the car/truck the more they make.
  • ron242ron242 Member Posts: 2
    Salesmen or associate are just the ones who start the paperwork the price is set everything is in place to guarantee the owner makes top dollar on ea make. The manufacturer is the one who takes off $'s on the cost to move autos. They are also the ones who generate 0% interest to sell the vehicles, the more the dealer sells the more they can make. The dealer might have a $1000 off sale to help push sales but he still makes a bundle.
    That's why it's a good idea not to buy unless they advirtise a special deal with 0% financing at 60 months minimum and dollars off the bottom line.
  • hjones1971hjones1971 Member Posts: 3
    WOW 3-4 cars a month and he kept his job, but then again I guess not after 6 months. I would have asked how on earth he survived on 3-4 cars a month but as stated apparently his dealership paid him a salary as well.(which IS NOT the norm)....
    Since we're painting pictures here why not paint the entire picture. Most dealerships the salesman is paid on commision which a percentage of the gross PROFIT.(key word being profit) that being said, if I own a vehicle for $25,000 and it sells for $27,000 then the salesman is paid on a percentage of $2,000. Now considering there is still an overhead cost which is taken out of the $2,000 and most dealerships in my particular area that will average to be around $600, so the salesman is paid on a percentage of $1400. A lot of dealerships pay around 20-25% of gross profit so on that particular car deal the salesman would make around $280. This is assuming he sold a vehicle at full sticker with a $2000 mark up. The average salesman nationwide will sell 8-10 vehicles per month, so assuming every car he sells has a $2000 mark up and he sells them all at full asking price then that gives him $2800 per month income. Granted some salesmen sell more and some sell less we are just talking about average here. From what I have seen the majority of new vehicles DO NOT have $2000 worth of mark up in them. Yes people like to say "hey I want the vehicle at TRUE COST, I want to own it for what you own it for etc... but remember IT IS A BUSINESS AND INTENDED TO MAKE PROFIT and how can you get upset with someone for trying to make profit in a business. I am not saying to go pay full sticker for the vehicles you choose to own but that doesn't mean to get ridiculous in the pricing of the vehicle you would like to own. If your budget is $35,000 then find a vehicle thats $35,000, not a vehicle that is $45,000 and get upset when you cant get it for $35,000...Someone made a comment that they spent 3 hours a night for2 months researching their vehicle and putting down the salesman for spending 4 hours with them..well YES the salesmans time IS WORTH SOMETHING and although it may be 4 hours with you it sometimes turns into more than 4 hours and sometimes less than 4 hours. Its not a proffesion that is for everyone and not anyone can just walk in and perform that job, it is indeed a talent and a skill..its great you spent 2-3 hours a night for a couple of months now try going to work everyday from 9am-9pm and not knowing if you're going to sell anything and make any money...YES there are some shady characters out there but every industry has them but not every dealership is "OUT TO GET YOU" and not every salesman and now maybe this provides a little insight on why some salesmen may be a little aggressive..
    I've been doing this a few years and have watched a variety of personalities selling vehicles and purchasing vehicles and as much as we like to express our bad feelings towards car sales, salesmen,dealerships etc...the fact of the matter is this,that aggressive salesman that people love to hate is the one that sells cars and makes a living,if the salesman was to just sit back and wait he would starve..very rare is there a situation where the customer walks onto the lot left alone and walks right in and says "I'll take that one sign me up" it just doesnt happen like that..customers left along on a lot get in their cars and drive away. there is a preowned dealership very popular that has a no haggle policy, no negotiating what you see is what you get and even though its been very successful their customers dont realize they are making a KILLING on them, but the customer doesnt feel that way for the simple fact there is no negotiating..
    A fair car deal is the customer getting a bit of a discount and the dealership still making money and everybody whens, when lopsided it is not a fair deal any longer..
    a good car deal is the vehicle you wish to own at a price you can afford..
    if you worry about how much money someone is making off you then you are concerned with the wrong thing.
    think in your own profession how many times you would like to go to work and work for free..
  • madlockmadlock Member Posts: 42
    The simple truth is that nobody would seek to recreate from scratch the system of territorial monopolies that exist today in which franchises are less flexible while imposing more unnecessary overhead and creating less value than labor unions.

    The ONLY benefit they provide is a guaranteed market of third party funding that can absorb makers' output stream. Even so, a well-managed and disciplined maker that produces only to the level of organic demand rarely needs such float - and the additional cost dealers impose upon the transaction are rarely worth their existence to either buyers or makers.

    It was ONCE true that co-located service and sales were necessary. Now that people can research and make perfectly qualified independent buying decisions, no reason exists why makers couldn't or shouldn't fulfill them directly.

    Thank God Tesla is at least starting to try to cast off the vestiges of an anachronistic system established only to perpetuate the status quo.

    The future will be one of fewer, but better sales outlets where buyers could actually see the full compliment of a makers' offerings rather than needing to settle for seeing what a dealer has on hand before making a buying decision - before which many won't even offer a test drive.

    Makers will begin building more flexible vehicle configurations that can be regionally staged in various degrees of completion and fully fitted out on a just-in-time basis to fulfill customer orders in near real-time.

    About the only sensible franchise opportunity that SHOULD exist is for localized service which should ideally be more densely situated to accommodate buyers every several months than sales centers to which buyers could travel once every several years - and through which franchisees could sell certified used vehicle manufacturers have taken in trade.

    The current scheme will continue to evolve, but to the least extent it can get away with rather than as progressively as it otherwise could. The very first maker that manages to pierce the veil of outdated franchise laws will open a floodgate of new and beneficial changes that will FINALLY have a chance at doing away with once and for all the most aggravating aspect of buying a new car - being haggled with by sales staff who is often less well-informed about the products they sell than the people buying them while adding thousands of dollars in expense without a whit of additional value.
  • claymoor83claymoor83 Member Posts: 1
    It continually amazes me that car salesmen are the only people who seem to have to apologize for trying to make a living. I have been in sales now for 10 years and have to make a living. In order to do that, we have to make a profit on our cars. No one at the dealership is taking trips to the South of France on our commissions, but we are trying to make enough money to take care of our families. The next time you go in and try to beat on your car dealer, try and keep in mind that he, or she, is simply trying to make enough money to take care of their family. Like you do. They are not sleazy or criminal. The majority are very hard working people that really should not have to feel like they owe you an apology for making a living.
  • ride2coloradoride2colorado Member Posts: 2
    The truth is if you sold cars for less than a year, you weren't any good at it. EVERY client is different. To hear some of you post about not needing a salesperson is a joke. That's like saying waitress's and cook's aren't needed. Or surgery is easy to do yourself. Some of you are condesending enough to not even be welcome at an auto dealer. Stick to your profession and we will to ours. Seriously . . . enough. The most famous saying in the auto business is "if the clients lips are moving....he's lieing."
  • ride2coloradoride2colorado Member Posts: 2
    Ron242 you are a real mooron. The Manufacture sets the price on NEW cars, and the public sets the price on used. Not the dealers. The market will only bear what the public is willing to pay. Stop spinning your bullcrap. You should be quiet while the adults are speaking.

    I throughly enjoy sales. At least better than being in the Military which I might add, my integrity is above reproach. I find it offensive when people like you spout off at the mouth not knowing what you're talking about.
  • maryerossowmaryerossow Member Posts: 1
    ... I'm one of those RARE women who E.N.J.O.Y.S. the new car buying process.

    In my 57+ years, I purchased my first automobile 'used' from a private party, and my next 3 new cars from dealerships, keeping them each 11 years.

    In addition, I will happily accompany any of my clients, colleagues, or friends that request my assistance with this "dreaded task." (They always treat me to a really nice dinner, unless negotiations go late into the night, then we celebrate the following evening.)

    Each time, I've viewed the experience as an opportunity to observe the "Ultimate Dance of Communication & Presentation[R]", as I have named it. It's very entertaining, educational, and wildly humorous.

    I use to be in outside sales (usually top salesperson.) In 1985, I started my own company, specializing in Professional Organizing & Life Coaching. So for the past 27+ years, I get to do 100% of everything M.Y. W.A.Y.

    That's one of the reasons I relish new car buying. I know that as the consumer, I'm completely "in charge" at all times, and that's very empowering. Kind of like taking a "new age workshop" and discovering that I control my own destiny... except, the workshop was FREE!!!

    Mary E. Rossow,
    Rossow Resources
  • chrome123chrome123 Member Posts: 1
    I have sold cars for two years now. There probably isn't a profession out there that you can choose that is "mislead" more by customers than a car sales associate. I loved cars when I started as Mr Wortman did, and I still do, but I had no idea lying to car salesman was so socially acceptable! Of course seeing customers with good credit is great, but the real reward was meeting customers that would say "I've done my research, I know how much (vehicle of interest) is worth", I can assure the customer I have no problem working hours on end with them, probably as much as they want to with me. Sometimes is the case but not always. I'm not going to say I wouldn't be pleased to sell a car to someone that stopped by during a rainy day and bought a car on their way to pick up milk or leaving the mall with no dispute on price. But on the other hand, if people know the msrp, tax, shipping charges and rebates. Or at the very least, understand there is a tax regardless of being paid in cash or finance, if not give me the time to explain them. It makes life so much easier! After selling cars, 90% of the customers don't pay full price for any vehicles, houses or boats, or any major purchase with mark up. The places that are selling at full mark up, most likely looking more money by not focusing on volume in todays market. But if the customer doesn't do the research on paying for anything, whether its cars, houses, or boats, they shouldn't be so surprised. At the very least, read the consumer reviews on the vehicles before you go to a dealership, because they are going to unintentionally take advantage of you, if no take advantage of you on purpose. There is nothing harder than assisting a customer that has no idea what they are looking at, or what they are looking for. Although narrowing it down is easy for the salesman, its not easy if the customer is glaring at you like you are about to rob him. Do your research! then they can't lie or mislead you!
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