By on January 7, 2016

fakesvt

Last week, I told you the tale of my friend Rodney’s grandmother who got taken to the cleaners recently by a Cleveland-area Buick dealer. That story’s not quite finished — apparently there have been a few conversations and trips back and forth to dealer, and at one point the “lost paperwork” excuse came into play — so I’ll update all of you once everything shudders to a final halt.

As can be expected from the always-contrarian B&B, not all of you were on the side of the elderly lady in the case. One particularly interesting comment went something like this: “It’s ironic that Jack and Rodney are complaining about the dealer making money off Grandma while at the same time smirking to themselves knowing how often they did that back in the day.”

Well, I cannot say that I ever charged anyone over sticker price for any new car, ever. Not even during the week that the first Ford Expeditions started arriving at dealerships and customers were doing everything but using lethal force to get their hands on one.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t see some people get “grossed” in the most hardcore method imaginable. So, without further ado, here are a few tales of outrageous dealer-profit fortune, including one in which your humble author played the villain.


Once Bitten, Twice Shy: The Ford dealer for which I worked during 1995 and 1996 was not SVT certified, which meant that we could not carry the Cobra or Lightning. I found this personally frustrating for a number of reasons, most of them centered around not being able to take a Cobra home for the weekend. However, the decision by our dealership principal, a former WWII bombardier who was harder than a century-old railroad nail, to avoid the SVT certification and all its associated obligations made perfect sense. We could barely sell one Mustang a month to our sleepy university-professor community, and we didn’t even keep Probes in stock. There was no chance of us being able to sell enough SVT products to justify the considerable costs involved. So no Mystic Cobra demos for young Jack.

Imagine my pleasant surprise, therefore, when a young man with a nearly-new ’96 Cobra rolled up and said that he wanted to trade it in for the well-equipped Mustang GT convertible parked outside the dealership door. He seemed prepared for the idea that he’d be losing some money on his car, which is not always the case with people who are trying to trade in current-model-year cars. I promised that we’d make him a rock-bottom deal and I mentally prepared for a long weekend with that Cobra in the infamous Hocking Hills region of Southwestern Ohio.

When I went outside to evaluate the trade, however, I could tell that something was wrong. The badges were right, but the bumpers were wrong. The interior looked awfully plain. Could it be? I popped the hood to confirm. Yup — this was a base V-6 ‘Stang.

Son of a bitch! I stormed back in just in time to find the car’s owner handing over a copy of the original purchase order for the car. He’d bought it from a Columbus-area dealer that was infamous for pushing ethical boundaries and, sure enough, a boundary had been pushed here. The purchase order showed a base V-6 Mustang … and a dealership-added “SVT Style Package” that just happened to bring the price up to the MSRP of a new Cobra coupe. When I explained this to him in front of the helpfully-popped bonnet of his “Cobra”, the kid lost his temper with me, implied that I had a conjugal relationship with my own mother, slammed the hood shut, and prepared to peel rubber out of our lot. “I’M GOIN’ BACK TO (insert name of SVT-scam dealer)! FUCK YOU, BUDDY!”

He slammed on the gas. The tires didn’t spin.

“If there truly is one of those born every minute,” Rodney sagely observed, “the white race is in real trouble.”

Eliot Spitzer Got His Escorts Cheaper: It was a boring Thursday afternoon and I was idly flirting with the bug-eyed title girl when some old man and his wife rolled up in a temp-tagged Escort sedan. “We’re here to see Ralph,” the man said, strutting onto our parquet floor with the attitude of a geriatric Napoleon. Ralph was the 65-year-old guy who had been at the dealership since Vietnam or thereabouts. He didn’t take “ups”; he didn’t need to. He had a steady stream of referrals and repeat customers. He told funny stories and jokes, he acted like he was too old and feeble to negotiate, and he charged every one of his customers about $150 off sticker, if that much. Needless to say, his customers loved him …

… except for this fellow, who had taken offense to the payment Ralph had quoted him on a 24-month Red Carpet Lease of a new Escort LX sedan. It wasn’t Ralph’s fault, really; Ford Credit had garbage residuals on the Escort and as a consequence it was usually cheaper to lease a new Taurus GL than it was to lease any flavor of Escort. So his customer had run off to the big dealership outside town (see above story of fake SVT Cobra) and had gotten a payment TEN DOLLARS A MONTH LOWER.

“Can I see the deal?” Ralph asked, humble and downcast as always. Then he called me over to make sure he wasn’t suffering from some sort of visual disturbance. Yes, the payment was lower — because the dealership had done a five year open-end lease. I don’t expect that most of the B&B will even know what an open-end lease is; they’re vanishingly rare nowadays. With an open-end lease, the residual vehicle of the car is guaranteed by the customer. If you turn the car back in and it fetches less than the residual, you pay. It’s basically a balloon-payment arrangement, and most states now severely restrict its use.

That wasn’t the case in 1995, however. This approximately $13,100 Escort, which we’d have sold him for $12,500 or thereabouts, had been “capitalized” at $18,500 thanks to five grand’s worth of “protection packages” and “interior treatments” and pinstriping. The residual was set at half of the inflated MSRP. Five years from now, this guy was going to be stuck with the bill for the difference between $9,000 and the value of a five-year-old Ford Escort.

I explained it to Ralph. He explained it to the customer. The customer called his attorney and read him the contract. Then it was his turn to be humble. It took hours to make the numbers work. In the end, we bought the Escort from him for $10,000 or thereabouts and leased him a new Taurus GL. He wrote a check for about $6,000. Then, right before he left, he said to Ralph, “If you’d just given me the payment I wanted, none of this would have happened.”

“I’m very sorry,” Ralph said, and then he went out to his new five-speed Contour SE demo, specified just the way he wanted it and replaced every 60 days, and he drove home to the dinner his wife was keeping warm for him.

Two Doors Good, Four Doors Better, For Me At Least: There were two salesmen in the dealership who wouldn’t disappear into the bathroom or the breakroom when African-American customers drove onto the lot: me and the crazy old ex-hippie who wore short-sleeve polyester dress shirts and combed his hair over his bald spot. Note that I did not include Rodney in that list. “For me to be forced to deal with black customers, simply because I happen to be from the motherland,” he declared, “would be racist beyond belief. It’s well-known that black customers typically have bad credit.”

My customer of that Saturday morning, a 30-ish-year-old black fellow with his eyes on an Explorer Eddie Bauer, didn’t live up to the stereotype. His credit was solid. However, his income didn’t justify the payment required to drive a Bauer home. No problem; I “moved” him to an XLT 945A package. No love from the bank. Then we tried running the numbers on an Explorer XL, which we didn’t actually have in stock. Sorry, the bank replied, we’re capping this guy at $24,000 out the door, not a penny more.

“Sir,” I told him, “you are in luck. I have an Explorer Sport that I can sell you at our invoice of $22,198.”

“Don’t want a two-door,” he said. “Four-door or nothing. Two-door looks like shit.” I reported this to my boss, who told me to take my “up” to the used-car side. There, our used-car manager showed him a two-year-old four-door Explorer XLT. The old style, with the flat front and the Ranger-ish trim. Best of all, it already had tinted windows and remote start, two things that my customer wanted. “How much?” he asked.

“Same price as that shitty two-door across the street,” my used-car manager said.

“I’ll take it!” We wrote it up and he rolled out the door a happy man. Then my boss sat me down. “Jack, while you were distracting the mark … ” I was doing what? ” … we repriced the vehicle. It was actually on the lot for $17,900, but you sold it for $22,200. Our cost on the truck, after pack, was $15,800.” I should mention that “pack” is an arbitrary amount of non-commisionable markup put on used cars, ostensibly to cover dealership expenses. Once upon a time, in the good old days, new cars had “pack,” but after the Carter recession that went the way of the dodo at most shops.

That $22,200 sale minus the Explorer’s $15,800 cost was $6,400. My commission on that was about $2,000. The check cleared the week before my wedding, so my wife and I went to Disneyworld on our honeymoon instead of our original plan, which was to stay home and work our crummy jobs. That small bit of dignity at a time when I would frequently skip lunch for financial reasons meant a lot to me. Still, I didn’t feel good about the deal. It didn’t help that my customer kept sending me referrals because he was so damn thrilled about his used Explorer. All of the referrals wanted “the same deal Willie got.” I leased them all brand-new Explorer XLTs for $500 over invoice, telling them that Willie had really taken us to the cleaners and I couldn’t afford to make that deal a second time.

And the moral of the story is only this: The deals you take are equal to the deals you make. Or something like that. Keep both of your eyes open when you buy a new car. I’ll close by quoting a bit of dialogue I just saw in a movie:

John Ruth: No one said this job was supposed to be easy.
Major Marquis Warren: Nobody said it’s supposed to be that hard, either!

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116 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: The Dealership’s Greatest Hits...”


  • avatar
    mikeg216

    Guessing that the shady dealer is ricart ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      No comment.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Many moons ago I worked at the big public television/radio station not too far from Ohio State. I worked with the folks who would run the fundraising campaigns, that is to say pledge breaks and other development activities. One of them was the station’s yearly auction wherein they would solicit any kind of donation they would get (I got to drive around picking stuff up) and auction whatever they got on air. A getaway weekend, tickets to a golf outing, dinner somewhere, shirts, a used big toe, basically anything.
        The people who ran the auction were on the phone for a solid year begging people for stuff and one year they wheedled their way into getting a local Honda dealer (sadly, forgot which one) to fork over an Accord. When they approached Ricart to see what they would offer, guess what they donated? A MFing cheap no-name guitar that Fred Ricart had signed. What a guy. Nobody bought it.

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      OMG I spent one summer in Zanesville OH more than 10 years ago and I recall that name.

      Jack, this one is a decent article, fun as always, but can we go back to that Probe article? That one was awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Geez, mikeg216. What makes ya’ think that? ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Ian

      As if there was ever a question, it must be Ricart. They are the manifestation of everything wrong with the car business, and have been for years, though the faithful flock to them for another “deal”. I wouldn’t even buy Grabber Blue touch up paint from the jokers at the parts counter.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I was told this this pearl of car sales wisdom at the very beginning, and found it to be true: The customers you make the most money on are the happiest. The customers you gave the car away to are the most miserable.

    Every car salesman eventually faces an ethical dilemma when selling a car. There are cars out there that just aren’t fixed properly, or have a bad car fax or whatever, and yes those cars will get sold to some unknowing person. I don’t think that happened to me very often, but I can think of a few cases. More often though, were the situations where a customer wanted to do a deal, but you just knew it was a terrible financial decision for that customer. Either it was a rollover of negative equity, or them just buying the wrong vehicle for their needs, or seeing grandma co-sign for that younger buyer. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t a financial advisor, and at least make sure that they knew the ramifications of what they were doing as best I could.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      When I bought my Honda, I invited every dealer in the state to bid on my business. I paid about $3,800 less than the highest bid, and about two grand less than most were paying at the time. I still have the dealer’s license plate trim rings on the car both front and back, as well as their dealer badge on the decklid. They deserve it, because I was thrilled.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Unfortunately, most customers that are hard negotiators actually don’t know what a good price looks like, so even when you give them the moon, they still think they are getting taken.You obviously did your research and know the type of deal you got. Rare.

        • 0 avatar
          OldandSlow

          But some of us do. I limited my search for quotes to 250 miles from where I live and only waited a little over a week.

          The result was I purchased a new Tacoma last year @ $500 below invoice. When I shook the floor manager’s hand, I thanked him for selling me a vehicle at a fair price.

          The dealer plates are on the truck and will stay there until I sell it. To me they earned my business.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’ve found that “hard negotiating” gets me nowhere and dealing with the right person makes “hard negotiating” unnecessary. The way to make sure you’re dealing with the right person is to get quotes without physically going to the dealer, by phone or email. Not only do you find out who’s willing to deal… you also find out who you actually want to deal with.

          Of course, that doesn’t work when you’re looking for a unique car. Which I usually seem to be. Then you’re up against whatever negotiating, and pretending to be interested in other somewhat similar cars, can get you.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I made all my contacts via email. Honda’s website used to be set up to make it easy to send requests for information to dealers in variously sized regions. Now I think you have to find the dealers’ websites if they’re more than about a hundred miles away.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        How did you do that CJ?

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Eh, you can’t fix stupid.. Not even with duct tape. I looked at it this way, as long as everyone in the deal knows exactly what the deal is and that it’s not necessarily a great idea but they wanted to do the deal anyways.. I’d do it. I treated everyone the same. Everyone got a fair deal.. Some better than others but and the end of the day I can go home and sleep easy.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Had a GM dealership in Portland Oregon try to slip in papers saying we were trading in our 187k mile Pontiac after we said we were not trading in, and that we would be liable for anything less than the $2k the paper said it was worth. Same place was trying to get some poor lady into a six-year lease on a Geo Metro.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I went to Wentworth once. I left without hitting anyone, for which my wife congratulated me.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        I think it might have been Carr. It was a long time ago but I recall that it was to the west of the city rather than in the city.

      • 0 avatar

        My friend bought a Cruze from Wentworth and wanted the diesel so they dealer traded it for him. The car was supposed to arrive at 3 PM on a Friday so when it didn’t show up by the next day, he called to ask what was going on. The salesman said, “We went out of our way to get you the car you wanted. It’ll get here when it gets here.” Then he hung up on him. When the car finally did arrive, it turns out it had come from Spokane, not Seattle like they said and it had 1100 miles on the odometer! Amazing how you’re treated when they want your money compared to after they’ve gotten it.

        I warned him to go elsewhere but he didn’t listen. I won’t kick a guy when he’s down, though so I never brought it up again.

  • avatar
    benders

    I wonder if Willie would have been as happy buying it at $17,900. People being what they are, he assumed it was actually worth $22,200 and thought he got a really nice car. If he’d paid $18k after coming in looking at Eddie Bauers, he may have been disappointed in his ‘cheap’ Explorer because he assumes a cheap car will have faults. Kind of like how stores will have a really crappy cheap version of the product just to make you think the expensive one is really worth more.

    Still an awful thing the dealership pulled on him.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Backbone and a little bit of knowledge are required if you want a fair deal from a dealership. Cowards and uninformed people pay more. Who walks away happy can only be determined case-by-case, ex post facto.

  • avatar

    …yet for every one of these guys, there are a dozen idiots who don’t understand why another $500 down won’t bring a $550/mo payment down to $300 with their 490 FICO.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    Back in ’97, fresh out of college and with a decent new job (not to be long-lived, but I didn’t know that) I went to the local Honda stealership to check out the new Prelude. I told them I wanted an SH, green w/tan interior, and no ##% pinstripes (every damn car on their lot had pinstripes)

    They tried hard to get me to budge on the pinstripes, even though I wasn’t trying to chisel them on the OTD. The salesman literally dangled the keys in front of me, and I lost count of how many times he went back to “talk to his manager”. At least all the dead air gave me a chance to notice the guy at the next table quoting almost 20k for a Civic LX to a little old Korean lady who barely spoke english.

    Finally, they said they would earmark a yet-to-arrive car for me, and not put the pinstripes on it. Even gave me a VIN, and said it would be 3-6 weeks. No problem, I had wheels and was willing to wait for “my” car. I wrote them a deposit check. Not two days later, the salesman called and claimed it was there. I was suspicious, but drove on over anyway. You guessed it–pinstripes. And a different VIN.

    By this time I’d had enough, and told them the deal was off. They actually tried to tell me I couldn’t do that, and then refused to return my check, saying they’d shred it. I said not good enough, give me the check. The manager at this point proceeded to actually jump up and down, storming around the showroom and yelling that I was “dissing” him in his own dealership. Meanwhile, an embarrassed looking younger man went in the back and came out with my check. I never did get my Prelude, which I still regret.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      This is an example of how funny the car business was.

      There is literally no way you could have overpaid for a Prelude SH, even with pinstripes and ADP. Those cares held their value like Swiss gold. I think it would cost ten grand to buy a good one today!

      The problem is that it’s hard to tell which cars will be the Preludes of yesteryear, so to speak.

      • 0 avatar
        Dirk Stigler

        20/20 hindsight … though IIRC the ’97s at the time were getting the “too big/bloated/not the ’91” line from the magazines, kind of like the E46 BMWs later on.

        That experience soured me on new car dealers until I bought a new ’04 WRX in early 2003. That salesman was like ‘Roger’ in your story. Laid-back, not much haggling (the undercoating trolls were a different story) and let me test drive as much as I wanted. He sold a lot of cars and got a lot of referrals, including from me.

    • 0 avatar
      scrubnick

      I’m glad mine isn’t an SH. They use a proprietary block. I wouldn’t have been able to build my closed deck engine if I had one.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I notice a lot of Honda dealers do pinstripes. Well, the ones that do usually also do wheel locks and mud guards on every single car.

      I had a second hand 2000 Civic which had stripes and mud guards AND wheels locks on its hubcaps.

      Not sure if Honda dealers still do it, but I assume they did because they could and they got away with it. People were going to buy the car because it was a Honda.

      That was the attitude of Honda salespeople in the late 90s. I remember being in college at a Honda dealer with my roommate and not being able to get anyone to help us even after walking into the showroom and asking. That kind of stuff sticks with you.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That was still my experience when I contemplated buying an Accord in 2003. The extreme unwillingness of sales staff at any local Honda dealer to help or be courteous was part of the reason I ended up with an Acura TSX. The Acura dealer I ended up buying from was great, and charged me MSRP on the TSX (one of the very first to arrive) when the competition were all asking for, and getting, ADM.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Dirk Stigler – In our town the local dealers have a “MegaSale” every summer at out local fairgrounds. It is a great time to look at what everyone offers at one time. I was looking at test driving a Ram Ecodiesel. The salesman and Principal tried real hard to get me to buy a Pentastar V6 equipped 1500. They claimed the Ecodiesel was a big seller and had none in stock. I agreed to test drive Pentastar even though I told them up front I had no interest in buying one.

      A few days later the salesman called and “miraculously” a shipment of them arrived. (Even tough they had told me none would be available for a long time).

      I politely declined and told him not to call me again.

      Ironically enough, the Principal and Sales Manager ended up being charged with deceptive and misleading sales and advertising practices a short time after that. It didn’t make much news since the Principal was a media darling. There was a vague news story about him and the dealership parting ways via mutual agreement. He also withdrew his nomination for “Citizen of the Year”.

      Karma eventually catches up to you.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        M E G A S A L E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          My parents bought TWO Chrysler vans from tent sale things. The 95 Grand Voyager, and the 99 Grand Caravan Sport.

          Both weren’t great, shocker. Neither were very clean either, more surprises. But I’m sure the great deal at purchase was worth the failing AC after a couple years (both) and transmission lock-up (the 99).

          They get taken in too easily, and I can’t educate them against it because all they see is the sticker price and balloons.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My dad sold cars at a Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Eagle/Plymouth/Renault/Mitsubishi/Fiat/Mercedes/Maserati/Ferarri/Lancia/Zastava/Alfa/Ram dealership when he couldn’t work construction because of an on the job injury. He refuses to get bad deals now.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            CoreyDL – Our town has been hosting these sales since the late ’80s. They are great for the town since they draw a lot of rural smaller town buyers in since every dealer is represented. I purchased a new 1990 F250 at one sale. I got a great deal on it. I like going just to tire kick. My oldest son loves going too. Since he is 14 and will be driving soon it was a great opportunity to check out what he likes and what fits him.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @Dirk

      Sounds like the movie Fargo. Just replace pinstripes with “True-Coat”.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Pulp Sales Floor?

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    Neat stories, well written!

    My only dealer experience as a customer was trying to lease a new Skoda Superb, or at least check the numbers. The dealer boasted about their good numbers, how they were building a new glass palace etc etc. When the time came to talk about discounts though, the story changed and I left. Not too exciting. :)

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I accompanied my then 60-year old mother to the local Toyota dealer to test drive an Avalon. They took her car for a trade-in appraisal and “lost” the keys to it. While they were “looking” they mercilessly worked us over in the sales office for a sale. The closer and even the super-closer came in to sell right then… “this price is good for right now!” I told them I’d like our keys back, and they said “we can’t find them.” At that point I pulled out my phone and started to call the police. Guess what – the keys instantly were found!

    My thought at the time was: “Davenport! Bring back Mr. Griswold’s car!”

  • avatar
    suburbanokie

    Somehow reminds me of buying my first car after college. I had decided on a sporty coupe. Went to a Chevy dealer who had a Celica in the classifieds (This is only 10 years ago, but I worked at the newspaper and saw the ads early). Test drove the Celica and decided it was entirely too small. Told that to the salesman.

    He thought for a minute while I looked around some and 2 ’05 Monte Carlos caught my eye. When I asked about them he said I probably couldn’t afford them because I only had a few months at my job and then showed me a Pontiac G5 sedan. I tested it, mostly because I’ll take at least 1 drive in anything I can, but was wholly dissatisfied in it.

    I left and went down the street to a Pontiac/GMC/Buick dealer’s used lot. I had seen a blue ’06 Monte Carlo in the same classifieds, but it already had a down payment by the time I got there, but the salesman showed me a nearly identical silver ’06 MC and their bank allowed me to buy it without a cosigner since I was working in the industry in which my degree was. Interest rate was fairly high, but the payment was OK and I knew I could handle that for a while then refinance when I had a better rating. So the Pontiac/GMC/Buick dealer got my business on a 1 year newer (refreshed model) MC the Chevy guy said I could never afford.

    Never should have traded that car – loved the 3.9 V6.

    • 0 avatar
      scrubnick

      I think that was the first year for the LS4TW/4T65FTL combination. They were fun while they lasted.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, a 3900 Monte Carlo is pretty rare.

      Probably the closest thing to it these days is a Challenger SXT.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Too bad the last MC had zero desirability in the looks or interior department!

        Always disappointed me they continued the Monte but dropped the Eldorado in favor of the XLR, which nobody bought. And yes, I realize it would’ve required a redesign because the Monte was not on the same platform as Eldo.

        • 0 avatar
          suburbanokie

          I still love the look of the 06-07 Monte; less cartoony than before the refresh. Shame they only had the 3900 for 06 though. Bigger shame it was FWD with only an automatic

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Monte was a W-body and it was cheap and easy to spin up a coupe of a still to this day existing platform. Eldo was the last E-body, its newest cousin being the 93 Riv whereas Riv went G-body for MY95.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_E_platform

  • avatar
    threeer

    Sad that folks still resort to the “lost keys to the trade-in” tactic. I’ve (recently) had to remind the dealer to hand me over the keys to my current car…you’d think these kinds of shills would have long-ago faded away. Maybe this is one reason why CarMax remains a popular choice for buyers…sure, they may be a tad higher priced as opposed to other dealers, but (usually) the deal is rather straightforward, and that is sometimes worth the reduced hassle and stress.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      They still do this?!?!?!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Moral of the story: Don’t give anyone your car key unless it’s a spare.

      In this day and age, that probably means providing the dealer with the valet key while keeping the fob for yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        When I have traded in vehicles, I have always agreed to a price of my trade before the actual transaction. I also figure out the sales price, financing, and payments before I go in and complete the transaction too. I thought this was how everyone bought a car, but I guess not.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          This is how smart people buy cars, fill in the rest…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            To be fair, I’ve had dealerships that wanted me to BUY TODAY, but then they lose a sale. My last car buying experience was the opposite of that though. They basically encouraged us not to buy the car on the day we test drove it. The sales manager said that he believes people need to think about important decisions, like a vehicle, before they commit to them. Maybe he just knew that a young couple with a 1 year old only has so much time before the kid melts down. I figured out the details with the salesman the next day, bought the vehicle, and have referred double digit people to the dealership.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I no longer trade cars, even though I’m not really interested in the agony of private party selling. Instead I sell the old one to a dealer and then buy the new one from a different dealer. I’ve found that the same shady dealerships will offer significantly more for the car in a straight sale, and it’s easier to focus their attention with the competition’s offers when there isn’t another part of the deal in the background.

          The most recent car I sold to a dealership was my G8 GXP. With such a weird car I got a huge range of quotes. Many were around trade-in value, but many weren’t. The dealer that bought the car gave me right around what I would have expected from a private-party sale, and the amount was nearly five figures higher than the very lowest quotes.

          Then they turned around and auctioned it at Manheim for what I found out (thanks to 28-Cars-Later) was a nice but not unreasonable profit. So I might have misjudged what I could have gotten on my own.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            When I do trade a car, I negotiate it separate to the purchase price of the vehicle. Dealerships in the Detroit area have excellent new and used car prices, but they really don’t want your inventory if you aren’t buying from them. The last car I traded in was a Focus ST. The Lincoln dealer also had a Ford store in another city and the Ford dealership wanted it. They gave me close to blue book private party because they had a buyer lined up for one (they could have been lying, I still got more for it than I thought I would).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re welcome Dal.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Was looking at a very lightly used 4Runner Limited last year at Boston’s biggest Toyota dealer (Ugh). They lost their key to it. Kept suggesting that I might have taken it inadvertently. Since it has keyless start I told him to go back out to the car and push the button. Started but he still couldn’t find it. No idea what they hell that was all about.

      I like my CX-5 but every time I see a white 4Runner limited I kind of wish I bought it. It’s pretty much the Swiss gold Prelude of today.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    When I lived in St Louis there was a Buick store in the city, Forte Buick (long since out of business). They had a customer actually call the cops because not only did they refuse to hand the customer’s keys back, the salesman threw them on the roof.

    We have found a really low-key little Pakistani? salesman at the local Honda store that we have leased 3 Hondas from, my in laws got one, my mom and dad got one and my sister in law got one from him too…I deal with him via email, so when we pull in there are 2 or 3 cars pulled up, so we can pick the color we like and get on with the deal. The last F&I guy we dealt with there was an asshat though…tried to sell free service for 2 years, for $350…which I told him amounted to $69 oil changes, then he tried to tell me that we HAD to use Honda oil and filters or the warranty would be voided…I mentioned Magnuson Moss and got a blank stare in return. Still, we can be in and out of there in under 2 hours, including the tutorial on how to set up the bluetooth.

    I am surprised by how many “non-car-guys” sell cars…the lack of knowledge some sales guys have is breathtaking. I sell cemetery property, prearranged funerals and memorialization products, and while it’s not something I would study if I didn’t do it for a living, I surely have become a student of different granite types and the difference between an airseal burial vault and a top seal, etc. Wanna talk about cathodic protection in Batesville Caskets, I’ll gladly explain it to you…
    My point is, have at least SOME knowledge about the product you are hawking or you’ll have a hell of a time making a living.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      “have at least SOME knowledge about the product you are hawking or you’ll have a hell of a time making a living.”

      Some of the most successful car salesmen I worked with knew almost nothing about the cars. What they were masters at was listening to what the customer was really saying and masters at selling what they saw in front of them (being able to spontaneously show features of a car they were seeing for the first time).

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Some of the most successful car salesmen I worked with knew almost nothing about the cars.”

        What do they do if the customer asks a question?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I can answer this one, as I’ve experienced it before!

          They answer with the incorrect information and sound knowing – hopefully the customer is as ill-informed as they are.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That right there. They are hoping you are only on page 54 of the textbook because they are only at page 63.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            It seems like more work to lie and possibly p*ss someone off over just knowing the product.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Right. Like the guy that tried to convince me that GM and Ford were secretly the same company, and all the cars were exactly the same.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            CoreyDL – same here. If they don’t know the answer they usually make sh!t up but do a great job of sounding like an expert. I always call them out on it but in a way that traps them in the lie. It is always entertaining to watch them squirm and try to worm out of a boldfaced lie.
            I had a salesman give me a lowball trade-in quote on my truck and tell me all of my aftermarket accessories did not add value to the trade. I said, “Okay. Fine. I’ll be back in about 4 hours to complete the trade.” He said, “why not complete the trade now?”. I said that it would take me about 4 hours to strip all of my accessories off of the truck and return it to stock.
            He blurted our, ” YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”.
            I relied, “WHY?……. You just told me all of my accessories don’t affect the value of the truck!”. He turned redfaced and stuttered and stammered.
            I told him where to stick his truck. I pointed out to him and the sales manager that his manipulation had lost them a sale.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      my last two car buying experiences have been equally as pleasant as yours with the Pakistani guy. In Particular was our last purchase – getting my wife a near-new Santa Fe. I found one with the options and color combo we wanted on cars.com, and called the dealer to schedule a test drive.

      I arranged financing through USAA, and came to the dealer with printouts of comps, KBB, and edmunds pricing. When they tried to play hardball on the price, I said we’re only here because of the color combo (white on brown) and we’ll happily go to one of the other dealers with the black one in the same trim and similar miles if they weren’t willing to play ball. They dropped the price to where I wanted, and we were off to F&I.

      I presented my USAA check and told the credit guy my interest rate, saying we’ll be happy to use them if they can beat it. He said running our credit would be a waste of our time at that rate, so we signed the check, they finished prepping the vehicle, and were on our way. In and out in under 2 hours.

      What surprises me is the lack of research people do on what is generally the second largest purchase they ever make. I accomplished all of this work from my sofa while watching TV in the evening. Total time spent was probably under an hour of real work, since I cruise car listings for fun every now and again, and we had been thinking about this purchase for a couple months before we pulled the trigger. 4 hours of real work, half of that from my sofa, is a small price to pay to get the vehicle we wanted at the price we wanted.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The way you bought your car is absolutely the way to go about it. But let me help you get into the mind of people who make poor car-buying decisions:

        “I have a 480 FICO score, I have two kids I need to get back and forth, but I’m driving a 1992 Buick running on 3/6 cylinders, and I’m just glad I got approved at all for 14% interest on a new Nissan Rogue Select. I wouldn’t want to rock the boat.”

        “I just walked in one day. I wasn’t planning to, but I wound up trading in my 2011 Camry LE, which was about to go out of warranty, on a new 2016 Accord LX. I financed in about $6K of negative equity, but I can afford $550 a month, so it’s cool.”

        “Yes, a Charger SXT with leather would have sufficed, but the R/T Max with the HEMI was only another $100 a month. So why not?”

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Wanna talk about cathodic protection in Batesville Caskets, I’ll gladly explain it to you…”

      At least in your industry, those rust modules have a hope of actually working. haha

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Do you prefer Batesville or Aurora caskets?

      Spent the first 19ish years of my life just up 50, in Lawrenceburg.

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        Batesville uses nicer exterior hardware…handle lugs have fewer exposed fasteners and just look nicer. I have sold York, Matthews, Aurora, Batesville and Astral, and you can’t go wrong with Batesville. Their custom line is cool too…custom paint only adds one day to delivery time…want Michigan Blue, sure, no problem. Want a tartan plaid interior, sure thing…just have your checkbook ready.

        And if you happen to prefer wood to metal, Batesville’s Marsellus line of mahogany and cherry hardwoods are the absolute top of the line…amazing pieces.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          See, this is great knowledge to have!

          Always seems a shame to me to bury real and beautiful mahogany and cherry in the ground. Use that wood to make some lovely solid furniture instead.

          Cherry is my favorite wood, followed by walnut and mahogany.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Sometimes knowing your product and its actual benefits can be a little bit of a moral conundrum. Let’s say you sell Audis in Pasadena, CA (which I have). An elderly couple comes in and insists that they want a Quattro, because “four wheel drive is safer.” Obviously, it rains maybe three days every year and snows perhaps once a century in Pasadena. On dry pavement at low speeds, Quattro has no detectable benefit. The couple seems very financially conservative, and you could steer them towards a cheaper FWD model, except that you’ll likely lose the sale because they “really wanted a Camry, but those don’t have Quattro.” What do you do?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        “Yes Mr. and Mrs. Customer, Quattro does offer added peace of mind during inclement weather conditions, let me show you this wonderful 2016 Audi Q5 Premium Plus with the S-Line, Technology, Sport, and Black Optic packages.”

        AWD is a benefit because they deem it to be. You didn’t sell them on it. They’ll go to the Mercedes or BMW dealer to buy an AWD vehicle if you won’t sell them one.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          And they may have plans to visit their son or daughter who lives in Colorado next winter. Just because they are the little old lady from Pasadena and her husband doesn’t mean that they will never drive in conditions where AWD would be a significant benefit.

          Or maybe they want for those few rainy days. And the cost may be irrelevant to them…they just prefer to buy the extra safety it provides, even if their opportunity to use that safety is limited.

    • 0 avatar
      vaportrail

      Cathodic protection for caskets?

      That’s a thing?!

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    On a slightly more humorous angle, I overheard two car salesmen talking in the showroom of a Nissan store once…one told the other about a customer he had “cracked”. I was there to inspect a collision-damaged demo for an insurance company, not as a customer, so I asked him what that meant. He explained that he had “cracked his skull”, and made a bunch of money on the deal, whatever it was.

    It amused me to no end…what a bunch of mercenaries.

  • avatar
    Steve Lynch

    Jack, the “pack” on pricing is alive and well at many dealer groups and high-line dealers out West. The rationale varies but the truth is that it designed to screw salespeople of out commissions, period.

    It is no surprise that most of these stores are crappy operations with high salespeople and employee turnover.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I suppose if you’re selling new Ferraris above sticker, the pack makes sense; other than that…

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        There is no justification for pack except to cheat the salespeople. Protection Against Commission – PAC.

        At the store I worked at, even at a mini deal for the salesman ($100), the dealer was grossing the $150 pac, the $399 dealer conveyance fee, $120 of the $159 “mandatory” VIN etch fee, and the 3% dealer holdback. So on a $20,000 Elantra, the dealer has a over $1000 gross profit on a deal the salesman gets no commissionable gross out of. How do dealers go bankrupt again?

  • avatar
    Robert MdO

    First time poster here…

    I’m always amazed to see the kind of “deals” people can get on cars on the US (or Canada for that matter), the way you can haggle on the price and how several dealers will fight for your business.

    In México things work out differently; all the manufactures have the prices posted on their websites and because theses prices can be “seen” by anyone on the country, the dealers have to respect them or face big fines from the Consumer’s rights enforcement agency of the goverment.

    So…with a price already set for every model and trim available, all you can negociate is what bank is going to take the car when you stop making your monthly payments. Every bank has different requierements for downpayments, interest rates, max length for the loan, ect, althoug most are pretty close to one another.

    What the dealers do, just as in the rest of North America, is try to include “packages” like extendend warranties, carpets, teflon sealing on the seats, etc.

    The only deals you can get are on previous model years that are still in stock, altough most already have a set price, and again, you do the rest of the deal with the bank.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @Robert MdO

      First, welcome to TTAC.

      Second, I was a bit unclear from your post: do you prefer the Mexican way and think it provides you with a better price and experience, or not? Just curious.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert MdO

        Thanks for the welcome.

        I prefer the “mexican way” in the sense that it involves, I belive, a lot less hassle, as there is no negotiation on the price BUT I’m not so sure if it’s the best way when it comes to prices; I think you can get way better prices on the US (if you know how to work the dealers) mainly because there is so much competition, and it’s also nationwide from what I’ve read here, like people crossing half the country to get the car they want at the price they want.

        I’ve expericenced the buying process of several relatives and friends, but my own personal experience is with the only car I’ve ever bought new, it was a MY2008 Civic EXL (no Navigation HU in México, sadly), the posted price on the website of Honda México was 230,000 pesos, around 22,000 USD at the time, and the dealer had a discount on all MY2008 Civics of around 1,500 USD altough the reason wasn’t specified (I suspected a new model was on the way but wasn’t sure so I took the plunge right there).

        I sold my ’98 240SX to a private party and used the money as the downpayment and financed the rest; the best insterest rate was with the dealers own financing branch, the credit transaction included the first year of insurance “for free”, unfortunately, as most car credits in my contry work, you have to use the banks insurance for the remaining of the credit (I can get way better insurance rates in my company, sometimes even half of the regular insurers).

        I think I wandered to far from your question haha, I would say I prefer the way the buying process works here.

        • 0 avatar
          healthy skeptic

          Thanks. Interesting. The reason I ask is that I support allowing manufacturers to sell cars directly here in the U.S. (if they choose), which many U.S. states currently outlaw, forcing you to buy from dealers.

          Opponents of direct sales claim prices will go up, because you can’t negotiate since the manufacturer sets the price. I say without a middleman, and with competition between manufacturers still in effect, prices would be roughly the same or a bit lower overall, and the experience would be better.

          Perhaps Mexico is something of a real-word test.

          • 0 avatar
            Robert MdO

            I’ve read about the dealers not being allowed to sell directly to the public and I must say I don’t understand why is that, I mean, for almost every other product it works that way.

            I couldn’t tell you if the prices would be higher or not, given that, to my knowledge, only a few manufacturers sells their cars directly to the customers, for most brands you have one o two country-wide dealers; I do believe that the prices to the public ARE set by the manufacturers and the dealers make they profit by buying wholesale depending on their size, and obviously financing, but I think the majority of credits are handled by proper banks.

            Take for example the oficcial Honda website price for a Civic, (honda . mx / civic) it starts at 292,900 pesos; if you check one of the mayor dealers Honda plaza (hondaplaza . com . mx / auto / civic-sedán) you would see the exact same price as the official site.

            I think prices wouldn’t be to different, because people would simply stop buying new cars if they can’t afford them and, as you say, a competing manufacturer would always try to get the low end market with lower prices. Long live capitalism hahahaha

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I say without a middleman, and with competition between manufacturers still in effect, prices would be roughly the same or a bit lower overall, and the experience would be better.”

            Tesla sells everything at MSRP. Tesla doesn’t haggle.

            Your theory is based upon nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I mean, for almost every other product it works that way.”

            Most producers sell their goods to retailers and either don’t bother with direct selling or else do very little of it.

          • 0 avatar
            healthy skeptic

            @pch101

            >>> Tesla sells everything at MSRP. Tesla doesn’t haggle.

            >>> Your theory is based upon nothing.

            No less than yours. I could just as easily retort by saying that Tesla doesn’t haggle because it already sells at invoice price, so no need. A dealer would only make things higher. In truth, we just don’t know.

            That’s why I was interested in Robert’s experience. You and I are just a couple of guys speculating on the Internet, but he offers a real-word perpective.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It isn’t my theory — it’s basic economic theory.

            For most products, competition reduces prices. You can’t possibly think that I made that up. Tesla is a prime example of this — its retailers don’t compete against each other because there is only one Tesla retailer.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    It’s true, CincyDavid, there were some real winners. I use that term loosely. I spent my couple of years at a flailing Dodge dealer, at the end of a row of dealerships referred to as “the magnificent mile!” I believe all cities have one. Let me set the stage for our sub-Mamet-quality play, which takes place in 1993, when Dodge dealers are working with D-series trucks, Shadows, Spirits, Dynasties (really!) and Colts by Mitsubishi.

    Cast:
    -Me and the kid I’m hired with. 22, love cars, broke, naive (or wet-behind-the-ears, noob, stupid, whatever term you want).
    -The bald sociopath (picture a young Ed Harris, heavier and less teeth) who bragged of giving “heart attacks” by hitting customers with a huge payment so he could work them back down.
    -The dude who pretty much was Wooderson from Dazed and Confused, complete with ‘stache. We let him have all the single mommies, just to watch him work and hear the story the next day.
    -His auxillary friend, who was truly tiny, thin, facial hair over bad teeth and hockey hair but impossibly deep voice. Took Wooderson’s leftovers until he got accidentally married to a fairly cute blonde and her dependents.
    -The old guy named “Tex”, see description of Ralph above. Really expensive but dated suit and accessories and boots. Referral customers only, and generally a pretty nice guy to split with. Played by Robert Duvall.
    -Carlos, the heavy Hispanic guy complete with alligator boots and bolo tie who was paid by intimidation, and would threaten you with violence for speaking to “his” customers and not splitting your commissions (whether he’d ever actually seen them before was debatable, but if you called him on it, you better be sure and full of guts). Luckily, he had an impossibly busty high school daughter who would visit after school and on Saturdays with lunch.
    -The outright criminal short, pudgy used car manager, who sold me a radio for my hooptie ’84 cougar, complete with filed off serial numbers. He even offered to help me install it, and when I arrived at his suburban house his wife was magically gone. He then proceeded to ask me inside to listen to his hi-fi and kept offering me wine. How I avoided getting molested and got away from there with the actual CD deck I can only credit to divine providence.
    -The long-haired porn addict, who would rent you tapes. Eventually fired for hitting on the receptionist too many times. Sold the three car minimum every month.
    -The Jason Bateman look alike, who drove the Iroc Daytona, hardly spoke, worked only five days a week, yet topped the leaderboard every month. No one knew how, where he lived, or anything else about him.
    -Finally, the ex-Vietnam vet manager (an exact Dabney Coleman lookalike) who would sneak up behind the young guys, wrap his arm around your neck, and exclaim “want me to show you how I broke those g–ks necks in ‘Nam”? Forgive the horrible misogyny and racism, but it was all completely true. I am just not creative enough to make this up.

    I went back to school and got the heck out of there as soon as I could.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      O_O

      Fantastic post

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      How did you ever manage to sell a Dynasty?

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        Hell, I had a Dynasty as a company car and loved that old tank…reliable as all get out except for a rebuilt transmission at 120K…totaled in a collision at 180k, running like a tank right up till the woman in the Buick left-turned in front of me…only time I have had a facefull of airbag and hope it never happens again.

        I almost bought one when they were going out of production…they were CHEAP. Alas the only ones that were left were really bad colors and I didn’t do it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That means your Dynasty had the good engine option, aka not the Mitsubishi one. My parents Dynasty was dying before 80k, blue smoke to no end and random stalls.

          Which I think someone round here told me was vapor lock.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        So sorry, I’ve been away. I hope you backtrack as this is really kind of a funny story…

        It was still during my first 90 days or so, when an 80’s Town Car pulled in, being driven by a suited African American man probably in his 50’s. The passenger, in the back, was an octogenarian white man, suit, makeup, and attitude. He wanted the most ostentatious car we had, essentially. I believe he must have struck out at Caddy and Lincoln on price. My manager instructed me to take him around back and show him the red one in the prep area. As stated, candy-apple red, with white leather, white landau, and gold-plated trim. He didn’t want to drive it (since he wouldn’t BE driving, I guess) and bought it immediately. One problem, the tranny was toast when it came off the truck. I had sold a new car with no transmission, and the customer never turned the key. Needless to say, the sales guys LOVED me for that one, and this poor gentleman took months to get all the problems sorted out and actually take delivery.

        What a business.

        On the other hand, all the employees there longer than five years got silent and choked up talking about Diplomats. Even the techs. I guess they loved them as much as they hated the Dynasty.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          An old man in a suit with a driver was wearing makeup?

          You had a red/white Dynasty? You never referenced the car you were selling in your story. I don’t think the Dynasty was available with white leather and gold emblems.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            K-car (Chryco Y body) Imperial? Maybe K-car Fifth Avenue? They’re basically the same model and both were available with padded roofs while being also cheaper than a contemporary Cadillac and possibly Lincoln. I also seem to recall C (Dynasty, New Yorker) and Y body (Imp, Fifth Ave FWD) K-cars having crappy transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Lynch

      Outstanding! But you forgot one:

      The guy who blows onto a dealership, really can sell and hold gross, customers LOVE him but he is totally rude to all other employees. I know one who once walked into a finance office with a deal and said to the F&I manager: (seriously) “Don’t F–k this one up.”

      Lasts about 6 months before getting fired. The one above is out there floating around South Texas 30 years (and dozens of dealerships) after we first met…

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        In two of my buys, the F&I guy came very close to making us walk. The first guy just tried to do a hard sell on warranties, etc, but the second guy was, ans still is, he’s still there 16 years later, so arrogant, so creepy, we told our salesman, “Get him out or we’re gone!”. The replacement guy was very nice and everything went smoothly. A friend of mine wrecked his Tahoe recently and went in there to buy a new Yukon as a replacement. I had told him about the guy above, and it turned out that he was his high school “Arch Enemy”. He tried all his BS, and my friend said to him several times, “Keep talking, and I’m walking!”. And he finally did. He told his salesman and the manager why he was leaving. He’s pissed so many people off(I’ve met a lot of people who got to see him in action), I don’t understand how he’s lasted so long. He reminds me of a male version of the creepy eye doctor in the Restasis eye drop ads. Good looking, but very creepy in the way she talks and moves.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Thanks Steve! I’m afraid in the two years I was there, Dodge was not the place for anyone wanting to make real money (that was our Pontiac/GMC dealership down the road, where the folks were attractive and wore company Polo shirts). I just didn’t last long enough to see this one. However, having seen lots of sales professionals in other businesses, I can certainly imagine him.

    • 0 avatar
      CincyDavid

      So customers aren’t the only ones who get screwed by the used car manager, huh?

      What a circus…between the oddball personalities and the long hours, sounds like a terrible trade to be in.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @Willyam

      One of the best TTAC posts ever. I’m already hooked based on cast description. Sir, I hereby order you to submit some of your “sub-Mamet-quality play” scenes to TTAC. Should make for some entertaining reading.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Thank you sir! I’d actually love to. I’ll write some of them up and do my best to improve my grammar. Maybe our esteemed staff will enjoy them enough to share them with the B&B. My fellow commentators are the best audience I can possibly think of.

        The time frame spans the introduction of the Intrepid, new Dakota, new Ram, and there’s a Stealth and Viper story or two thrown in there. Not to mention the customers, who could sometimes out-creep the sales personnel.

        Viper tease: we got exactly one, it lived in the window and was covered in so much tire shine I actually hit the floor once next to it due to over-spray and slick shoes.

  • avatar
    Robert MdO

    @Pch101

    I don’t know why the site doesn’t let me reply directly to you.

    “Most producers sell their goods to retailers and either don’t bother with direct sales or else do very little of it.”

    I guess I forgot to say it works that way in México, sure a lot of manufacturers sell their goods to retailers, but from what I know, a lot of them also sell their goods directly to the customers, most obviously the ones that have manufacturing plants in my country.

    Either way, altough I understand the convinience of retail stores of having many products from many different manufacturers in one place and the convenience for the companies to have guaranteed sales of a certain product wheteher the public buys it or no, what I don’t understand is the protectionism to the dealers to the ponit of making direct sales illegal as is the case for cars.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Great stories ! .

    When I sold used VW’s it was a strait up deal : reasonably priced , if you didn’t like it , buy elsewhere .

    Never had any complaints .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Never worked in a car lot but most of the cast of cut throats would fit just perfectly in an HVAC or Plumbing company. Probably most folks would have to see to believe.

    What happened to the option to subscribe without commenting. I don’t often like to comment but following a thread has been a lot of fun. Hope that deletion is temporary.

    • 0 avatar
      Erikstrawn

      I had an HVAC guy fail to troubleshoot my heater. He then quoted $8000 to replace my heater while telling me they’re only designed to last ten years.

      I researched the wiring diagram online, troubleshot the problem down to a relay, disassembled the relay (accidentally while tapping it with a flashlight), cleaned the contacts, and reassembled it for free. My 37 year old heater works just fine.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I’ve got a temp I’m paying $12.50 an hour for seven 12-hour days every two weeks, and he’s happy as a clam. Came from the Ford dealership across town and told me that all salesmen were required to work six 12-hour days EACH and every week. That’s brutal.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “all salesmen were required to work six 12-hour days EACH and every week. That’s brutal.”

      No, that’s often the reality for many sales people who work for commission and have drawing rights (cash advances every two weeks against sales commissions).

      After a while, if they don’t sell enough to offset the advances, or are in the hole too long, they’re let go and the dealership eats the loss of the advances allowed. At the dealerships my brothers owned, it was $4000 in the hole, or two pay periods.

      But it is up to the discretion of the owner(s).

    • 0 avatar
      Civarlo

      Brutal with a capital B, for sure. Work schedules like that in the car biz are why so many of these guys end up as chain smokers, if not as chronic drunks or cokeheads. The substance abuse likely dulls the pain that those hours bring.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    Back in ’98 I was a technician at a Nissan dealership. I did a used car inspection on a ’96 Pathfinder that was absolutely horrible. It was a wreck rebuild that had runs in the paint, a screeching driver’s door hinge, misaligned body panels, etc. I wrote up a laundry list of problems and the manager refused all the work except for an oil change (every used car got an oil change). While I was performing the oil change he came back and started looking at the Pathfinder.

    “I can pick this up for $5500 and sell it myself.” he stated.

    The dealership had a policy that employees could buy cars for no less than $500 over what the dealership paid, and apparently some of the managers used that as a vehicle for some lucrative side-trading. I knew by this that the dealership had paid $5000 for the Pathfinder, when in good condition it would sell for $16-18 grand.
    A few days later a saleswoman came back and asked me to perform some more work on it that the buyer had asked for. I asked how much she sold it for.

    “I had it sold for $15,000, but [the used sales manager] said we had too much money in it, so I went back and got them up to $16,000.”

    “They bought it for $5000 and had me do an oil change.”

    She was furious. The managers had tweaked the data in the ADP system to show the car costing more than they had in it. She was getting her base commission and nothing more. The used car manager sent the rest of what should have been her commission up as “profit” to the general manager and got his monthly bonus. The general manager sent the “profit” up as well and got his monthly bonus.


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