Note: I’ve mentioned my one-time demo derby experience in the comments on a few occasions, so here’s the full story. This piece originally ran on Autos.ca and was later republished on autoTRADER.ca. It’s republished here with permission. I hope you enjoy it. —MS
Public auctions are usually a sea of bad decisions waiting to find a home in a new idiot’s garage or driveway. At one particular auction over the summer, I was the idiot, and my bad decision lay in wait with bated breath in the lot of automotive shame.
Most harebrained ideas are hatched under the influence This was no different. A thousand miles removed from Canada’s largest city, two freelance automotive writers were guzzling beer and bandying about ideas for potential stories. Most of the concepts were actually elaborate ruses designed solely for gaining access to OEM press fleets.
“Let’s drive to Toronto!” Mark heartily suggested. “It’s only, what, a thousand miles?”
“That’s sixteen hundred kilometers, in Queen’s English,” I corrected him. “Why? For what purpose?”
“Well, the Canadian International Auto Show is in February. Let’s crash that party.” White out!
Shuffled off to the side of the Volkswagen display at the Canadian International Auto Show was this Golf, sporting a carbon fibre roof and side mirrors.
Feeling the need to build a segment vehicle that slots below the CR-V, both in terms of size and price, Honda showed its Urban SUV Concept at the Canadian International Auto Show. To drive home the point that they are marketing this at young’uns, Honda amped up the hyperbole while Skrillex blared out of the main speakers onstage.
Our own Alex L. Dykes postulated that the 500L is what happens when Fiat stays in America for awhile – and he’s right. The feature that stuck out immediately are the massive side windows between the front doors and the windshield, looking for all the world like that area of the original GM Dustbuster minivans.
A wad of hundred dollar bills flew through the air, landing in the center of the conference room table. It was the start of a new month, and the Dealer Principal was making what was to be our main focus quite clear.
“You’ve got an entire row of used cars out there that hasn’t moved in far too long,” he thundered at the sales staff. Producing a sheaf of papers from his jacket pocket, a list featuring about a dozen vehicles that had been on the lot approaching 100 days appeared. “These are all in Recon as we speak, getting turned into cream puffs. That cash goes to the person who sells the most off this list.” A bounty, then. Game on. (Read More…)
photo source: Wikipedia
Statistics Canada reports that there are more than 26 million registered vehicles deemed fit to ply our 900,000km of Canadian roadway. Not bad for a group of souls who wear wool socks for six months of the year and feast on poutine. Transport Canada sets regulations for such things (the cars, not the poutine) and is thus charged with crashing, smashing, and otherwise ruining brand new vehicles with single digits on their odometers – all in the name of safety, of course.
There’s not really any sense, I’ve learned, in trying to be subtle in this business. Bull in a china shop, full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes is the modus operandi – at least when handling the antics of competing dealers.
Fresh out of business school, where my head was crammed with strategies and theories whilst my appetite was sorted with mucho beer and pizza, I had tons of ideas and concepts I wanted to employ. “Build your brand”, they said. “Be top of mind”, they exhorted. In my early efforts to do both, I took full advantage of all opportunities, earning business and pissing off competitors.
Being employed at the smaller of the two dealerships representing our brand only strengthened my resolve. They were the rich cousin but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. I was in my early 20s and knew (knew!) that I was the best car salesman … in the world. (Read More…)
“This place smells like a distillery!” roared the Dealer Principal, hurling a previously useful phone book across the office. The veins in his neck popped out like redwood trees and I thought he was going to have a coronary right there on the spot.
“Clean yourself up or you’ll be looking for another job by 5 o’clock!”
In reality, his rage was not directed at me but rather at a co-worker who, by all accounts, seemed to have rolled into work that Saturday morning straight from the downtown bar district. (Read More…)
First in a series by car salesman Matthew Guy.
Trying to eke out a living in your early 20s is rarely an easy task. Compounded with fresh debt and a lack of solid work experience, I decided to parlay my knowledge of cars into making money, taking a job selling cars. It was intended to be a gap job –turned out I liked it and, more importantly, I was good at it. Some customers stick out in your mind. The 1000 watt bombshell with fabulous frontage to whom I sold a convertible. A raven haired beauty who was equally as sharp a negotiator as she was a testament to the female form. (Read More…)