Capsule Review: 1995 Explorer And The Disney Deal

By on July 22, 2010

Having just seen the new Explorer, but being under some kind of embargo, I’ve decided to write about old Explorers this week – jb

My parents raised me to never inquire about another person’s salary, but they didn’t have the chance to deliver this message to everyone else in America. As a result, I’ve seen this question asked of many people, including myself, during my lifetime. There are two ways this question can be answered. The first one is the way that everyone in the universe except paid-on-commission salespeople answer it. The pseudo-math equation is this:

(Reported annual income) = (actual annual income)

Salespeople answer the question differently. In fact, I’ve never met one who failed to give the following answer, expressed in the same style:

(Reported annual income) = ((Best Month Ever) * 12)

With that in mind, what follows is how I earned \$108,000 a year selling Ford Explorers in 1995.

I want to explain the magic of the Ford Explorer to you in a way that everyone can understand. During 1995, Ford sold well over 400,000 units of both the Taurus sedan and the Explorer SUV. The average ticket for the Taurus at my dealership was about \$17,500. Of that, about \$16,000 went to Ford after rebates and holdback. That sixteen grand had to pay for a complex unibody vehicle with expensive components, relatively expensive trim, and a CAFE burden that needed to be addressed by subsidizing Ford Escort sales.

By contrast, the average ticket for an Explorer at my dealership was \$29,675, which was what an XLT 4WD with sunroof cost. \$26K of that went to Ford. A V-6 Ranger with identical mechanicals could be had for \$18K. Get the picture? Ford made big bank on the Explorer. Maybe as much as \$10K per unit profit, times 400,000 or more, for nearly a decade.

I arrived in the Ford business during the winter of 1994-5. One of my first sales was a previous-gen 1994 Explorer, and that’s a story I will tell tomorrow, but in general I was there to sell 1995 Explorers. We sold as many Explorers as we did other Ford vehicles combined. This was critical, because Explorers were the only Ford vehicles which sold at sticker that year. It was easy to make \$400 commision on Explorer deals, compared to the \$50 “minideals” to be had on a Taurus or Contour. Selling five Explorers meant you could eat that month and keep the lights on at home.

The vast majority of Explorer sales were the 945A XLT package. That was leather, sound system, tilt and cruise, 15″ aluminum wheels, tinted glass, and roof rack. It was the cheapest Explorer to lease, because it had the highest residual. Cheapskates and cash buyers were shown the \$26,000 941A XLT with flat cloth seats. There was an Explorer XL four-door, but we never sold one.

The Eddie Bauer Explorer was a piece of shit, so we never stocked more than one at a time, compared to the 10-15 945A XLTs we had on hand constantly. The 16″ wheels and big tires made it miserable on the road and the price was well above the critical \$30,000 mark. The Limited, at \$35,000, was even worse and we wouldn’t even take them on dealer trades. I could lease you a 945A XLT for \$450 a month. A Bauer was \$650 on the same profit margin; a Limited was \$800. Hell no.

There was one engine choice — a 4.0 V6 — and just two drivetrains — RWD and an “Auto 4WD”. We didn’t have a V8, and we didn’t have full-time AWD. It didn’t matter. The Explorer rode well in XLT form, it had all the goodies, it was reasonably spacious, and it looked prosperous. The line formed to the left.

My wedding was planned for August of 1995, and as of July I still had no money for a honeymoon. We didn’t even have any real credit cards to debt-float such a trip, so I figured we would just come home after the blessed event. I was earning an average of \$2500 a month at the dealership, and there was no honeymoon money hiding in that figure. Oh well.

Around July 15, a young African-American man came into the dealership to look at Explorers. As is always the case at new-car dealerships, the arrival of a black man caused every salesman in the joint to mysteriously fade away, leaving me alone on the showroom floor. The guy’s name was, I think, Vince. Nice enough, and I took him out for a drive in the 945A XLT demo.

He was sold, at full sticker. The bank came back with an emphatic “HELL NO.” Vince wasn’t fazed; he would take a 941A. No chance. Okay, he’d take a two-door Sport, for \$23,995. The bank said he was approved for a maximum of \$22,000. Not a penny more. Vince said he had a thousand bucks in his savings account, give or take a few. My boss told me to take him across the street to the used-car shop.

In the converted Burger King which housed our used-car sales offices, I was greeted by Tim, the outrageously greasy and unethical used-car manager. “We have a \$23K Explorer, no problem.” I took Vince out for a demo drive in it. It was a ’93 four-door XLT, plenty of equipment, 45,000 miles. I couldn’t believe Tim had the nerve to ask that kind of money for the truck, but Vince liked it. He was “sold and rolled” an hour later. I was called into the sales office to do my commission paperwork.

“Here’s the deal,” Tim said, grinning from ear to ear. “We had that on the lot at \$16,995. I pulled the numbers off while you were stalling the mark. We paid \$12,500 for it. He signed at \$22,995. Pack (the part of the dealer profit on which a salesman is not paid) is \$500, net is \$9,995. You take 30% of that, \$3332.50.”

I felt sick to my stomach. We’d cheated that man, and I said as much to Tim. He was a big Irish guy, and he rose to his feet with violence in his eyes. For the sake of some of the readers who complained about the language in my Aspire review, I will redact this one. “That (African-American) (individual who performs oral sex on men) was fucking stupid enough to pay the ticket. Nobody cheated nobody. Take your money and shut the fuck up before I kick the shit out of you.” Faced with the choice between collecting more than three thousand dollars and losing my job yet again for office fistfighting, I took the money.

Forty days later, my wife and I were in Disneyworld, enjoying a room in the “Contemporary” hotel and eating cost-no-object dinners every night. Energized by my agitation on that deal, I’d managed to earn almost nine thousand dollars that month, selling ten new cars and three used ones. I even bought myself a wedding present — a new HK P7M8 pistol that sold at the time for eleven hundred bucks. Good times.

I returned after a six-day absence to find a message on my desk. Vince had recommended me to a friend who was dealing with credit issues. Could I sell him a great Explorer like I’d sold Vince? On my way out the door that night, I turned, faded back in the jump-shot motion I’d learned playing Catholic-school basketball, and shot the crumpled message into the showroom wastebasket. There are limits.

96 Comments on “Capsule Review: 1995 Explorer And The Disney Deal...”

• Z71_Silvy

Ahhh…the days of decent, quality, desirable Explorers.

We will never see them again.

• psarhjinian

Umm…

Quality? Um, no. They were simple, crude and not all that reliable. By the standards of domestic unibody cars (or the Blazer/Jimmy) of the era I suppose they were reliable enough, but honestly? No. Heck, no.

• Blunozer

I didn’t realize we saw them at all in the first place.

The Explorer has always been the Camry of traditional SUVs. Minus the reliability.

• Z71_Silvy

Um, no. They were simple, crude and not all that reliable.

Couldn’t be more wrong.

My grandparents had a 1996 Explorer…much like the bread and butter model in Jack’s story. It had leather, moonroof, power seats, etc. It was a 4X4 with the 4.0 pushrod V6. Aside from being slower than a slug…and drinking gas like a V8, it was as reliable as the sunrise (only thing it ever needed was a IAC cleaning (WD-40) and a t-stat), the seats were properly comfortable (something Ford cannot do anymore), the dash was very solid and quite (again, something Ford can’t do), the ride was very good, etc.

There was a reason it was called the Lexus of SUVs in 1995.

• psarhjinian

Your grandparent’s example does not prove the rule.

My in-law’s sister had the front wheel fall off her ’97. At highway speeds, bu that doesn’t mean front-wheel separation is going to happen to all Explorers. If we go back to, say, Consumer Reports, even they weren’t rating the Explorer terribly well at the time. Not as badly as they were rating the Taurus, but not well, either.

• dbol1977

I remember this era (1994-95) very well. I was in High School and the rich kids had the Explorers. I had an 1980 F-150, and to look back after having an Exploder myself later on after HS and College when I had some money, my bondo bucket F-150 was a better vehicle.

However, at this time my folks were looking to replace the 1988 Ford Econoline conversion Van (a big monster I still hold dear). Nothing wrong with the van, it was just too big and getting a little old. My dad looked at Suburbans, Broncos that were too big for my mom defeating one of the reasons of replacing the Econoline. So from this we looked at Grand Cherokees, S-10 Blazers (’94 square and ’95 round bodys), and Explorers (’94 square nose and ’95 round nose). With the Explorers, the dealers had a hard time keeping them in stock especially the ’95’s. It was insane!

These vehicles were getting top dollar and to look back extremely overpriced at around 30K in that time. Count for inflation today, that is over 40K, with that today you can get a sweet new Volo, BMW, or Audi Wagon.

My folks concluded that these cheaply built, terrible driving, low tech vehicles were not for them and a very poor value. They found a new 960 Volvo wagon for considerably less that the Exploders to replace the Econoline. Though this particular Swedish brick was a bit of a lemon, it sure drove nice and was classy.

• NulloModo

Interesting. Adjusted for inflation, an Explorer with those options is actually cheaper now than it was back in ’95.

These days we actually have to report income at pretty close to the actual levels – the banks will call customers out on it and ask for POI too often, and it’s not worth the hassle to salvage a deal with over reported income when you can just be straight with the bank up front and see what you can do.

You hit a fundamental truth in that it seems the customers who you make the biggest commissions on are often the happiest. The ones who nickel and dime you to death in negotiations and leave with the best deals often end up being miserable SOBs throughout the process, and then keep coming back with little niggles afterwards. The ones you knock over the wall and who sign on first pencil end up talking you up to their friends and sending in plenty of referrals.

I’ve come to justify it to myself this way – lots of people pay way too much for all sorts of things. If I offer someone a used car for a certain price, and they accept it, it’s still an honest deal no matter how much I make. The customer always has the right to ask for a lower price and to try to negotiate, but if they are happy and don’t try to, everyone leaves the table happy.

• european

oh i think you’d be most happy if the customer just leaves the money with you and takes no car back home.

what kind of POS person are you to call your customers SOBs
if they try to get a better deal by negotiating??

• NulloModo

There is nothing wrong with negotiating, and I don’t hold it against anyone. I will however call a spade a spade and if a customer lies through his teeth, and is insulting, rude, and belligerent, I have a problem with that. At the end of the day the sales manager decides what the car will be sold for, and the old adage that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar holds true. You can negotiate in a civil manner, and if you are friendly there’s a good chance I’ll like you and end up working my manager to get you the deal you want, even if it means I make less on the sale. If you’re combative and disrespectful from the minute you step in the door, there’s a good chance I won’t.

As far as pricing goes, put yourself in the saleman’s shoes for a bit, because at some point in their lives, everyone is. If the dealer offers you a couple grand over what you know or think your trade is worth, are going to correct them to the lower value? When you put your house on the market and inflate the selling price by 10% over what you really want (like everyone does, anticipating that first offer for 10% less than asking price) are you going to turn someone down who offers you the full boat asking price?

I won’t cheat a customer, I won’t change figures that have been agreed upon when he goes into finance, and I won’t try to play games to disguise what the customer is paying. IF, however, someone says they agree to pay a price that might be higher than the minimum I would sell something for, I certainly won’t argue with them.

EDIT: Sorry if this is a double post, my first attempt apparently got caught in the content filter for a fairly mild blue word, and when I reposted with amended language I lost the ability to edit out or delete the original post. Whoever is on editor duty tonight, feel free to delete my nearly identical post immediately above this one (if it ever shows up).

• dwford

“You hit a fundamental truth in that it seems the customers who you make the biggest commissions on are often the happiest. The ones who nickel and dime you to death in negotiations and leave with the best deals often end up being miserable SOBs throughout the process, and then keep coming back with little niggles afterwards. The ones you knock over the wall and who sign on first pencil end up talking you up to their friends and sending in plenty of referrals.”

Truer words.

I love to negotiate with customers, it can be fun. But some customers come in with a chip on their shoulder, looking down on the salesperson like they are stooping even talk with us. These people complain throughout the process, argue at everything (but don’t actually know what they are talking about) and leave with a great deal still miserable. I love the ones that complain about how long the process takes when they are the ones putting up roadblocks at every turn.

As for the customers like Vince in the story. They only come along once in a while, so by all means we will make a profit on them. Nothing wrong with that. The day the cashier at the grocery store tells me to put the Cheerios back because they are cheaper across the street, I will consider telling a customer that they are overpaying.

When I sold Fords, we had a customer come on the lot that no one wanted to deal with (he was Asian, and sorry for the stereotype, but no one wanted to deal with the potential language barrier and the extra negotiating it seems “they” are known for – not as bad as Indians though :) !!). He walked and walked and every salesman pretended they didn’t see him. Our used car manager actually upped him, and brought him inside. Who was the only one standing there? Me, crap! He is looking for a 15 passenger van, and we just happen to have a nice used one – priced online for \$12,995. I take him on the test drive, come back and sit him down. My manager tells me the price is \$20,995 (I know what it is online), and I go offer the numbers to my customer. He says yes!! He pays cash and off he goes. Best commission I have ever made. And, no, I don’t feel bad about it.

• rpol35

I essentially agree with you, a fair price is what a seller and buyer agree to.

Changing the price, while “stalling the mark” however, is low in my book.

• dastanley

I agree. No customer is forced at gunpoint to pay any amount for any vehicle. If a(n ignorant) customer chooses to pay double the blue book for a used vehicle, and they are happy with it, then it’s a win-win.

The same thing happens in the airline industry. When I flew regional jets with 86 seats, most of those seats were sold at different prices (which BTW, the pilots don’t control, contrary to the accusations from angry passengers when they found out that they paid \$800 for a trip when the person next to them got the same trip for \$300). And the CRJs were configured for all coach at my airline, no business or first class, so they were pretty much the same hard cramped seats. The ones next to the shitter SHOULD have been discounted, but weren’t.

• ChesterChi

Good story. Kinda sad that “Vince” was throwing away so much of his money, but Tim was right — nobody was being cheated. Vince knew exactly what new Explorers cost, so why would he pay almost that much for a 2-3 year old one with 45k miles ? If that’s what he wants to pay, 5 minutes after being told what the new ones cost, then he’s not being cheated. He’s just being extremely foolish.

However, this still doesn’t explain why my local Honda dealer was asking \$24,000 for a year-old used Honda Accord (back in 1999) when you could buy a new one for \$23,500. It takes a much greater fool to fall for that one, but apparently they are out there.

• Sam P

In 2004, my ex paid \$17,500 for a 2003 Toyota Corolla CE with an automatic, and no other options. Toyota certified, with 33k miles. Manual windows, no ABS, and no power door locks. It made my ailing Volvo 940 SE look like the epitome of luxury.

New Corollas with similar equipment were going for about \$16.9k. I brought that up once, and was rewarded with a bawling fit.

• George B

Chester, I was shopping for an Accord back in July of 1999 due to sudden failure of both air conditioning and radiator in my daily driver. The crazy used Accord price was due to limited supply of new ones. 1999 was a gold rush year with money getting thrown around to build the internet, telecom, and the cellular telephone system. The Accord Coupe, especially the popular black EX V6 flavor, was in extremely short supply. Test drove one of three EX V6s of any color available in the Dallas area that weekend before the protective plastic had been removed from the sheet metal and bought it by phone/fax the following Monday.

Amazing how popular the Explorer was back in the 90s. I preferred the Pathfinder, but most customers chose the Explorer. Sad that so many Explorer V8s with GT-40p heads were destroyed by cash for clunkers. A surplus of cheap V8s could have helped entertain us a quarter mile at a time.

• meefer

+1 on Accord V6 rarity in 1999. We were helping my mother buy one and they were literally being bought off the delivery truck. My mom walked away from a white 4 door EX V6 still in the plastic and someone literally right behind us snatched it up at sticker, no questions asked. Since this was a time when the nest was empty, she didn’t feel so bad 3 weeks later when we managed to wrangle a LX V6 2 door Accord.

Faking her “limited” English and hardballing the dealer into giving us the Costco price even shaved a bit off of sticker, which we considered a win at the time. Probably not as good as the deal my sister got on her EX V6 4 door 3 years later (I still swear it was a typo on the dealer’s part), but not bad. Lasted 9 years and one fresh out of college hoon (me) before giving up a cylinder in 2007.

Negotiation goes both ways :)

• Pig_Iron

@George B: When GM brought out the V8 in the Blazer, Ford was behind the 8-ball, since there wasn’t enough mod V8s yet. I helped get the small block Ford V8 in that tight, tight engine bay. We did it in 6 months, which is the fastest I’ve ever heard of in the industry. It’s one of the two things I’m most proud of, in my former career.

• jimbowski

^ the only V8 in a ‘Blazer’ was the full-size, bof Blazer. The s-10 Blazer (same size and models at the explorers) had the only option of 4.3L.

• Pig_Iron

@jimbowski

Yes, you’re right, we were told it was “imminent”. In fact, we were under the impression it was on a pilot line at GM. I’d forgotten they never went through with it. In any case, they wouldn’t have jumped like that, if they weren’t worried. It was still a huge accomplishment at the time.

• Wheeljack

My understanding of what drove the urgency to put a V-8 in the Explorer at that time was the availability of a V-8 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Rumor had it that the big-wigs at Ford hated seeing all those V-8 badges on the back of the Jeeps while driving to their palatial homes in the various ritzy suburbs here in metro Detroit…

• Pig_Iron

@Wheeljack

Yes, that would make more sense, but I distinctly remember being told it was the GMT300 that was the threat. I’m embarrassed I don’t remember better, especially since I went to work on the GMT330 shortly after. I never drove the V8 ZJ, but remember being surprised by the I6’s power-train. WRT to the ZJ, I always loved to visit Jeep & Truck Engineering on Plymouth Road – really good folks, and a little more relaxed than CTC.

• educatordan

Perhaps Ford was simply fooled by the fact that it was so damn easy to stuff a SBC between the frame rails of an S-10/S-10 Blazer that they assummed that it was GMs intention all the time to bring one to market. I simply put forth that the ease of instaling a SBC had to do with the simple fact that a 4.3V6 is just a SBC with two cylinders shorn off.

• Pig_Iron

@educatordan

That makes perfect sense too. All I remember, is that Ford was white hot about it at the time; and we’d never compressed a normal 24 month development time down to 6 months. There was a lot concern about intake air flow because everything was so tight. We really celebrated when we heard the trials were successful.

• ajla

I’d consider it “we took advantage of him” over “we cheated him”.
________

As an aside, I’ve always had a thing for the 2-door V6 Explorer 4WDs. Too bad Ford got rid of them.

• Ingvar

That’s like saying: “I didn’t rape her. I only took advantage of her not knowing any better.”

Sorry, but… Those customer got cheated. Screwed. Taken up the ass. They got buttfucked by salespeople that didn’t have any shame.

• ajla

I think you mis-understood my point. I wasn’t trying to justify anything, I was just arguing semantics. Like the difference between “rape” and “molest” to continue with your reply.

My thought was “cheating someone” requires a violation of established rules or agreed upon terms.

For example, if they told Vince he would be sold the Explorer for \$18K OTD, but wrote up the loan for \$24K after he had left the dealership; I’d put that more on the “cheated him” side of things.

• gslippy

Thank goodness for the internet, and widespread availability of vehicle prices in a variety of formats. This wasn’t available to Vince in 1995.

• Sam P

The guy who was the best man at my wedding (a good friend from high school) learned to drive a stick (in 1997-98ish) on a ’95 Explorer XL that his parents bought new at the local Ford dealer in a small town in Washington state.

To this day, it remains the only 4-door Explorer with a stick shift I’ve ever seen in the wild.

• Heh, my friend’s first vehicle as well was a 4 door, stick shift, Explorer.

That was, till he totalled his Step-Mother’s brand new Mazda Millenia going over a hundred miles an hour on a small Texas back road. Not so surprisingly, the Explorer disappeared forever a couple of days later and he was sent off to roof houses in El Paso for the summer.

Good times.

• Quentin

My mom had a 1991 red XLT w/ 5MT and a 1996 green XLT w/ 5MT. Both were ordered. The green one was quickly traded for a 1997 GMC Yukon due to generally not being happy with the car. I just recall that the green one would stall at the top of the driveway where the red one never did. Of course, I was around 13 during the ownership of the green one so memories are fuzzy.

More rare, my friend’s dad had a Voyager minivan w/ a 5MT. Another friend’s dad owned the local Chrysler dealer and said he had sold only 2 MT minivans… ever. That Voyager that carried us to our soccer matches, a Smashing Pumpkins concert, and a slew of other places was 1 of those 2. I clearly recall hauling a carload of my best friends, drunk off their rears after a party when we graduated HS, in that van. The drunks in the back kept pleading for me to slow down; I was going 30 on a 55mph country road.

• fiasco

Sam P: To this day, it remains the only 4-door Explorer with a stick shift I’ve ever seen in the wild.

I must have had the other one, a green 96 XLT with cloth seats. Was an OK hand-me-down driver for me to replace my rusted out Merkur XR4Ti, and I certainly used it a lot for hauling cars around before UHaul put an end to towing their junk with Exploders (who can say they’ve towed a Sierra Sapphire Cosworth AND a Saab Sonett TWO STROKE in the same day?) .

But by 90k miles the transmission and clutch were done (can’t understand why…) and it wouldn’t take an inspection sticker because it had worn out its second or third set of ball joints already. So I went car shopping. Almost bought a used Audi A4 avant until the jokers at the car dealer tried to rescind the deal because they “didn’t realize” my trade was a stick. Ended up with a new 03 Legacy wagon, which I still own. I figure the Exploder is doing duty in the Caribbean or South America somewhere, probably on the same ball joints that caused me to trade it.

• geozinger

A good friend of mine has a 1995 with a V6 & five speed, green also. I think it’s a XL level. I borrowed it a couple of weeks ago to bring home a new grille; it’s really not a bad drive.

Apparently they’re not as rare as we might think.

EDIT: I meant to say that I think it’s a 4 door XL level Explorer with the manual 4X4, but has a/c power windows, locks and seats. No leather. Weird combination of options.

• texan01

I’ve seen a couple 4 doors with 5mt. Now I’ve only seen ONE 4 door with a full bench front seat though.

My ’95 Explorer is the exact model they were pushing , a loaded XLT 4 door 2wd with automatic. I think it was one that was assembled right, as it went 225,000 miles on the original trans, 260,000 on the original ball joints. Right now it’s down due to a failed rear axle seal/bearing, which oiled down the brakes on the right rear wheel. That finally caused it to fail an inspection.

I test drove a new Explorer the other day, and was not impressed with it. It felt cheap compared to my admittedly dated example even.

• dbol1977

I had a 2000 5 speed explorer several years ago. Mine was the 2dr. I did not know they made a 4dr with a manual. I am also recall that they only came with the 4.0 push rod V6 not the SOHC. The pop rod V6 needed a manual because because it was very underpowered and thirty on gas. Another good thing is that with the manual you would forego the flakey automatic.

With the friends and co-worker were always surprise to see a gearshift and clutch pedal in a Explorer.

• moedaman

It’s stories like this that makes me wonder why car salesmen complain about their image.

You’re right, the buyer didn’t know what he was doing, so he fell for the whole thing, hook, line and sinker. It is his own fault. Too bad that the dealership was so ethically challenged to want to screw the guy in the first place.

At least Jack had enough morals not want to pull that stunt again.

• drivebywire

I like to think that an ethical organization will reap greater long-term profits and genuine satisfaction and pride than one which knowingly screws people for short-term profit.
Also, with the money dealers now make on servicing, it’s definitely worth building a solid reputation.

• psarhjinian

To be a good salesperson you need to be unethical enough to want to succeed. There’s a lot of room on that particular curve, and a lot of not particularly moral people make quite a lot of money. Many of them “flame out” when their reputation catches up with them, but not all of them do.

When I bought my first new car, the Acura salesperson who tried to sell me an RSX was such an agressive sleazeball that I just walked away, but by the dealer sales charts he was by and away their best rep.

The fellow who tried to sell me a Celica was, by comparison, a really nice man who went out of his way to explain that I’d a) be better off the a GT rather an a GT-S for cost reasons and b) was really up-front with what was available and c) let me take the car for the day (which was not easy for him to do). I sent him a lot of friends and family, but he was in the lower-middle of his dealership’s earnings chart because he was moderately ethical.

It’s not an easy profession for that reason. Personally, I know I couldn’t do it and wouldn’t even try. I suspect that the more moral reps eventually win out, but the temptation and rewards for being even a little bit tarnished are hard to resist and easy to rationalize.

• RickM

“a young African-American man came into the dealership to look at Explorers. As is always the case at new-car dealerships, the arrival of a black man caused every salesman in the joint to mysteriously fade away”
Thanks for providing an honest portrayal of race-relations at car dealerships. Sad but true. and I don’t think things have improved very much since 1995.
I worked as a salesman in the summer of ’08 and even though business was slow, I saw this same dynamic.

• rnc

My wife was the book keeper at a caddy dealer, she said during the escalade/hiphop era, that 80% of the people coming in were black, wanting to test drive an escalade (usually wanting to know if they could keep it for the weekend to think about) and that 90-95% of them wouldn’t qualify to finance a yugo. Imagine the frustration, but what the salesman could never know was whether or not the person walking in was the next drug dealer (they would have thier mom with them and the vehicle would go in thier name) or pro athlete who would pay cash with every option imaginable, so they did it over and over again (but the commisions on an escalade would make 1 out of 10 profitable while avoiding lawsuits).

• Detroit-Iron

“losing my job yet again for office fistfighting, I took the money.”

LMAO. Nice choice on the P7. CDNN Investments have some for ~\$700 now.

• werewolf34

It’s not like the cream of the crop work in car sales. Car dealerships are products of a bygone era of franchise laws.

• SherbornSean

dwford and NulloModo,
I see the point that if the grocery store doesn’t tell you that Cheerios are cheaper across the street, you shouldn’t have to tell customers they could get a better deal elsewhere.

But the difference is that the price of Cheerios at a given store is the same for everyone, regardless of their race. Auto dealers on the other hand have been shown in multiple studies to discriminate against minorities and the disadvantaged. Look at the 2 stories in this thread — about taking advantage of an African American and an Asian American. Sure its only anecdotal evidence, but its part of a wider pattern.

Now I’m NOT accusing you of being racist. But until you and your co-workers address this disparity — with actions, not merely words — then your actions will continue to speak for themselves.

• Cammy Corrigan

http://motornewshub.com/articles/jalopnik-30809-mazda-axes-dealer-that-up-charged-mentally-handicapped-woman-car-dealers/

She thought she was getting a good deal, so it must be OK?

If people geniunely believe this, then don’t blame people for having little sympathy when dealerships get axed (sometimes unfairly). After all, business is business, right….?

• NulloModo

Cammy – Apples and oranges. The Mazda situation was shady on all sorts of levels. The lady was mentally deficient to begin with, and that dealership then somehow fudged her financial information to saddle her with a loan that she should not have qualified for. While selling the car with a big markup got the big headlines, it’s the fraud that likely got Mazdas attention and could bring huge fines and legal trouble, especially of they had done it before.

Sean – Personally, I don’t care what race someone is as long as their money is green. I have a feeling Jack’s manager would have tried to shoot for the moon had the customer been of any race. If studies show that minorities are paying more for their vehicles it could well be because statistically many minorities fall into lower income brackets and either do not have access to research tools like the Internet, or don’t know how to fully utilize them.

• Dimwit

It all worked out. They lost the dealership. Mazda was seriously pissed. Both the salesman and the manager were exposed as the sleazeballs that they were and I think that the other dealership they run is in trouble as well but I’m not as sure. It’s not a Mazda shop.

• dwford

I don’t see why I would use race as a price determinator. Why would I want to cost myself gross just to do a favor for someone of the same race?

I work in an inner city dealership. I will tell you that most of my white customers come prepared with multiple price quotes in a nice manilla folder, but I have yet to see a minority customer do the same. The white person might end up with a lower selling price because they negotiate, and probably leave with the low interest rate financing (if they haven’t paid cash), but the typical low credit score customer might pay MSRP, but that’s because we need to cover the \$3000 bank fee to get their 582 credit score bought.

It all comes back to this: do your homework and have good credit before you go out to buy a car.

• john.fritz

HK P7M8. A beautiful weapon. Never shot one but it looks like nice.

• crc

Great story Jack, but did you sell any pink Explorers?

• Mark MacInnis

These things have to be gut-wrenching at times to write, Jack…thanks for the honesty…

• drivebywire

How many of these early Explorers ended their lives (and those of occupants) upside-down?

I’m looking forward to seeing the new Explorer and hearing about the Volvo safety technology which has found its way inside.

• segfault

“…the Volvo safety technology which has found its way inside.”

Rumor has it that the obscenely-large D-pillars are not a safety feature.

• trk2

“How many of these early Explorers ended their lives (and those of occupants) upside-down?”

Fewer then if you had been driving an “average” vehicle. According to the IIHS, the four door version of the (90-94, 95-2001) Explorer is ranked in the top half (best 40%) for safety in their ranks for number of fatalities per million miles driven. The most dangerous version of the Explorer was the 2WD 2-door which was ranked poorly (worst 10%, as was the Toyota Tacoma and Blazer), but the 2wd 2-door also sold a pittance compared to the 4wd variants and 4 door versions of the Explorer.

The “death trap” Explorer is a product of media and injury lawyer hype.

• cackalacka

“The “death trap” Explorer is a product of media and injury lawyer hype.”

Not sure if you’re safest ‘40%’ assertion is based on vehicle class or not.

And I do realize that anecdotes are not data, but I know a really nice couple who were involved in a Explorer roll-over a decade ago shortly before that whole Bridgestone/Firestone thing. They were traveling on the freeway at a reasonable speed, tried to brake/maneuver when traffic does what it sometimes is known to do.

She walked away, he had a closed-casket funeral. That’s when I learned that Newtonian physics can work just as well against SUV safety as it can for it, making everyone else on the road that much less safe in the process.

Her next car was a Mercedes (S-class I believe) as it was a car that not only seemed safe but was safe.

• ceipower

The problem here is the burden of a Catholic School Education. Do you take advantage or not? I have to assume few car dealerships are owned by those who spent time in Catholic School.The prevailing thought is always screw’ em they deserve it. When you threw that lead into the trash , somewhere a penguin was smiling.

• psarhjinian

Being raised Catholic is sort of like being marinated in guilt. The flavour varies (eg, Irish Catholic guilt is a little different than the Italian Catholic guilt I know and love) but it does mold your view of the world.

• Brock_Landers

Why feel guilty about making money in such way? In the end of the day somebody is going to pay for you to earn profit. What is a honest deal anyway, if you sell something with zero margin? If your customer was happy and you are happy then its the perfect deal. It’s not ok to earn money on selling cars, but its ok with every other product? Let’s say you import bbq grills from China and your own price is 500 USD and you sell it with list price 1500 USD. One guy comes in and grinds the price to 1000 USD and buys it and second guy just buys it with 1500.-. Is the second guy being cheated? Do you have to feel sorry for him? I don’t get it, identical business strategies are judged differently based on the field of business?

• talkstoanimals

Stories like these sure make me glad car dealers were exempted from Financial Consumer Protection Agency oversight. [Note to self – remember to invent a font denoting the use of sarcasm and patent it.]

• 50merc

I knew an elderly man, living alone and really not fit to drive, who got it into his head he should buy a new car. He wound up at a Plymouth dealership (yes, this was a while ago) and they talked him into buying TWO new cars at sticker price by getting him to believe the cars were such bargains and in such high demand he could profit by buying an extra car and holding it for sale later.

His son eventually found out about the scam and somehow got the second sale reversed.

Poor old man. The remaining Plymouth was stolen out of his garage and taken for a joyride. The thief left it parked at a local college. Eventually the college cops had it towed away. Strangely, despite the fact that the car had license plates and was registered in the old man’s name, he never was informed his car had been recovered. By the time he learned that, the tow yard had assessed towing and storage charges so huge he couldn’t afford to get the car back. Hey, it was all legal, right?

Like the song says, some people steal with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen. Some folks need a Godfather to help them cope.

• xyzzy

I’m not surprised Vince recommended you to his friends. He doesn’t know he overpaid. But he does know that you are the only car salesman who didn’t flee when he entered the dealership, and that you treated him with respect he probably wasn’t used to getting (I infer that second fact from the fact you were pissed when you learned that you had helped take advantage of him). You worked with him to find an Explorer he wanted and could afford rather than brush him off when he couldn’t qualify for his top two choices.

Whether or not it’s a sad statement that a black man is so grateful to be treated with respect on the lot he’s willing to overlook overpaying is another discussion, but in fact you did provide him with a positive experience that no one else would. You should have called back his friend with a clear conscience, IMO.

My wife bought a used 2001 Explorer Eddie Bauer from a dealer in 2003. It had 18K miles, was (and still is) a very nice truck but I thought she overpaid by a few \$K. But the dealer treated her with respect, didn’t ask her to get her husband’s approval on the deal like everyone else did (she made good money on her own), and 7+ years later she still owns and loves the truck. The sting of her overpaying has faded in my mind (no, I never told her I thought she overpaid) and she still remembers the experience fondly.

Getting the best deal is always a good thing and we’d all want to get the best deal we can, but sometimes the bottom line dollar isn’t everything, something I know not all of us can identify with. I had a hard time accepting my wife’s deal (it was pretty much a done deal when she brought me in to help with the final paperwork) but in the scheme of things she’s a happy customer who had a good experience.

• postjosh

I’m sure someone will accuse me of being politically correct but you may want to think about your choice of language here.

Xyzzy, “Whether or not it’s a sad statement that a black man is so grateful to be treated with respect on the lot he’s willing to overlook overpaying is another discussion, but in fact you did provide him with a positive experience that no one else would. You should have called back his friend with a clear conscience, IMO. ”

+1 Jack, thanks for your honesty. BTW, regardless of a customer’s race, I see no reason to trust a car salesman. I buy my cars on eBay to prevent myself from being fooled in a face-to-face encounter with a slick salesman. Jack, you didn’t talk too much about the Explorer. From my contrarian viewpoint, they are a good buy in the used market – they tend to run forever because they are based on the Ranger.

The word “spade” in this phrase refers to the gardening or farming tool and not to an ethnic slur, so no disrespect should be interpreted.

• postjosh

“Clearly our expression to call a spade a spade was very well established long before the word spade had any racial sense. However, today the word does have a racial sense. If the expression is assumed to be offensive, it should be used with caution even if there’s no real basis for the assumption. This is not an unusual event. The word bloody, for example, does not derive from a profane oath such as “by our lady,” but that’s what people thought, and the word was considered quite offensive. The incorrect etymological assumption did not change the word’s offensiveness. Few people today would object to call a spade a spade, but some people might, and one should at the very least be aware of that. ”
– http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19970115

• david42

Jack, these stories from the trenches are priceless.

Many car salesmen lack your insight–they believe that they provide a service so valuable that it justifies squeezing the customer for whatever they can. I have bought or helped friends buy dozens of cars. Each purchase involved 1-4 dealership visits. And from all of those, I have met precisely three salesmen (well, two salesmen and one saleswoman) who helped us more than they hindered/aggravated us. I’m sure there are some people who get helpful info from car salesmen, but too often they just inflate the price of a commodity (esp. for new cars).

If every new-car buyer knew they were going to pay cost + \$1,000 (or whatever), I think that customers would be thrilled. The salesmen wouldn’t have to be the buyers’ adversaries, and the profession might attract a different kind of person: people who are good at getting you the car you want instead of the car with the highest price.

I know it wouldn’t work (trade-ins!), but it’s a beautiful dream…

• xyzzy

It did work for Saturn, at least at creating happy and loyal customers. It would be interesting to see if they could have kept it up all these years if they hadn’t let their lineup go to seed.

• nikita

The race thing gets even worse in California. The law requires Spanish speaking customers to be given a contract in Spanish to sign.

The same Toyota dealership that cheated, err “took advantage of” my dad on a lease (we got an attorney to unwind the deal), lost its license for regularly violating the language, and other DMV regulations.

Every time Ive made a car purchase it has always been cordial. There was one time when I thought I was being “played” by the salesman, who kept leaving to see his manager at every step in the negotiation. Finally we met in the sales managers office to it work out. I realized that it wasnt a trick, but the salesman was just a little too “green” to work out the deal himself.

Knowledge is power, but so is a handshake and a smile.

• Dynamic88

Salespeople answer the question differently. In fact, I’ve never met one who failed to give the following answer, expressed in the same style:

(Reported annual income) = ((Best Month Ever) * 12)

LOL! I sold cars in the ’80s, and I never met salesman who didn’t make six figures a year, calculated in precisely that manner. These same high rollers would always want to “catch ‘ya tomorrow” for the egg McMuffin I bought them for breakfast.

The rest of the story isn’t adding up for me.

“Here’s the deal,” Tim said, grinning from ear to ear. “We had that on the lot at \$16,995. I pulled the numbers off while you were stalling the mark. We paid \$12,500 for it. He signed at \$22,995. Pack (the part of the dealer profit on which a salesman is not paid) is \$500, net is \$9,995. You take 30% of that, \$3332.50.”

When I sold cars, we sometimes knew what the dealer had paid, sometimes not. We always knew the asking price and the pack. We salesmen were the one’s who wrote up the initial offer – the customer came back with a counteroffer, or not, and we took the “deal” to the manager. So my point is, you should have been feeling sick when you wrote it for \$22,995 and the mark agreed to it. You knew at that point he was paying 23K for a car with a 17K “asking” price. It was a forgone conclusion that the manager was going to accept the offer. I don’t really blame you for not saying something to the customer – probably would have cost you your job. Still, shouldn’t you have been feeling sick at that point?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a mark of your humanity that you felt sick about this, but the timing is confusing me. Of course maybe the process was different where you worked, and maybe you didn’t know that 4K was already built into the asking price. Still, you knew all along that he’d wildly overpaid, even if you didn’t know exactly by how much.

• Jack Baruth

At this particular dealership, the new and used sides were completely separate. You were permitted to take an “up” across the street if he was really a used-car customer (and the used-car guys could do the same) but I had no real idea what the used-car guys had on their lot, what anything was listed for, or what the dealer cost was.

I saw that Explorer for the first time when Vince did, and was told it was \$22,995 by *my* boss.

• This article and some of the comments from guys like @NulloModo, remind me of one of my favorite quotes from Sin City, which I will adapt to this discussion:
.
Marv: “I love hitmen [car] salesmen. No matter what you do to them, you don’t feel bad.”
.
.
+Too bad you didn’t beat up that Irish guy, Jack. You would’ve had a cast-iron alibi and the case would never go to trial. The Mayor might even give you a key to the city! :P

• Dukeboy01

What sucks is when the unethical dealers keep their franchises and the ethical (or at least, less unethical) dealers get shut down. This just happened in Lexington, KY with the two Chevrolet dealerships in town.

The one on the north side of town, which is the ghetto side of Lexington, is Ron Hatfield Chevrolet. They are the biggest bunch of dirtbags you could imagine. Every dirty deal you can imagine I’ve heard of them pulling. They seem to be especially fond of the old “Sorry, but your financing fell through, we need you to come back and take out this loan with an interest rate that’s twice as high instead.”

You walk onto their lot and they swoop down immediately, trying to hard sell you. You can’t really accuse them of being racist. From what I’ve seen they treat all their customers like mentally- challenged minorities with poor credit, but a job that on paper will cover a \$700 a month loan for 84 months at 14% APR as long as Auntie co- signs for it. I don’t know a single person who bought a car from them who ended up happy with the deal.

The southside Chevrolet dealer, Thoroughbred, would still cheat you, I’m sure, but at least they didn’t hard sell you. If they couldn’t do the deal, they’d tell you that they couldn’t do the deal. They didn’t try to then move you into a used car or something you didn’t want. They were polite. Their service deprtment was friendly and knowledgable.

So, of course, Thoroughbred got whacked during the GM dealer cull and closed their doors July 1st. Figures.

• V572625694

Hate to go grammar nerd on you, but “one engine choice” is no choice at all.

• educatordan

Remember what ole Henry said about the Model T: “Any color you want as long as it’s black.”

Besides you could always tell the customer, well you can have a 4.0 V6 or a 245ci V6. (Forgive me, I’m just that sort of wise guy.)

• 200k-min

I’m constantly baffled that clear up front pricing and strict prohibition of gimmicks hasn’t happened in vehicle sales. What companies like Best Buy did for electronic sales is long over due for auto sales. There is absolutely no reason that car sales people aren’t paid a fixed hourly/salary rate and not commissions. All vehicles should have a standard dealer markup that doesn’t fluxuate, period, end of story. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we need a Wal-Mart of auto dealerships. (CarMax might be it but never visited one of their shops.)

• dwford

How is Best Buy’s (or any other retailer’s ) pricing clear and upfront? Do you know how much mark up there is in a TV? Did you know that Wal-Mart’s shelf pricing is different in every store based on the pricing of the local competition?

All vehicles DO have a standard dealer markup – it’s called the MSRP sticker. We would be happy to have you (and everyone else) pay it.

• tankinbeans

The idea of having the price on the windshield and being a no-haggle dealer is what the local Ford dealer where I live has done for years. Since my family has always been credit-challenged there have been multiple periods where we could have gotten cheated on a car deal, but the dealer has always told us what was too much to afford and what to try for. I think the local Ford dealer salespeople get a flat \$50 per sale (not entirely sure) so they don’t have to try to upsell.

It might be different though since we were never new car buyers. It’s always been used. In my memory there have only been 3 new cars in my entire family.

• dwford

What people who are credit challenged don’t realize is that the bank calls the shots – especially now. The banks decide the interest rate, selling price, and usually charge a bank fee just to agree to the loan. It is not uncommon for the banks to chop the selling price to NADA loan value, then demand a \$3000 fee. It’s their way to tell us to FOAD. Often we have to force several thousand \$\$ out of the customer just for the deal to make sense.

In my area, we don’t have to upsell the stiffs, we have to down sell them. Most stiffs that come into my store think they deserve to drive a Lexus, and when you tell them that the only car they are getting approved on with their 582 score and \$1500 down is an 08 Chevy, they get mad and leave. The hazard of living in a welfare state – CT – where we give the disadvantaged free cellphones on the state dime – really.

• FleetofWheel

Carmax, Fitzmall.com and Scion all have very straightforward selling prices and practices. Their new car prices match very favorably to Edmunds stated fair market prices guides.
However, the used car prices at no haggle dealerships tend to be higher than average when compared to retail guides.

Some here on TTAC confuse a no-haggle price with MSRP.

At any rate, using Fitzmall.com to see real and concrete out-the-door prices on specific popular models makes it easier to arm yourself even if you intend on going with a full haggle dealer.

• John R

I was in a good mood, until I read this.

I won’t blame you too much, Jack, for choosing between your integrity and your job – sometimes we just have to bite our tongues. However, I will think less of you knowing that the upshot of your experience was your going to Disney-world and then buying a gun.

I guess I should be glad that your conscience decided to pipe up when Vince almost unwittingly threw his friend to the jackals (I was going to use “lions” but former your co-workers don’t deserve it).

• Jack Baruth

Well, to be fair, at that point, Vince was the legal owner of the car. No laws had been broken. He was down the road. I would have had to call him, explain that he’d paid too much, and advise him on his legal options — which would be exactly none.

If I’d found out about it halfway through the deal, that would have been a different thing, and that’s probably why Tim didn’t tell me.

All I could have done would have been to quit in protest.

• FleetofWheel

“However, I will think less of you knowing that the upshot of your experience was your going to Disney-world and then buying a gun.”

Both of Jack’s expenditures were wholesome, legal and non-remarkable in a free society with a lot of choices available.

Should he have donated the money to one of John R’s pet causes?

• european

“If I’d found out about it halfway through the deal, that would have been a different thing, and that’s probably why Tim didn’t tell me.”

you;re such an POS liar JB. maybe Vince didnt realize he was overpaying, but you certainly knew coz you aint that stupid that if new is \$26k and used with 45k miles on it is \$23k, that there’s something fishy. dont BS.

edit: and you did it 3 more times. and then you didnt do it the 4th time. should we all applaud you now? it’s
like a serial killer, killing 3 but leaving the 4 victim alive, and saying, but duuh, im a good person, can i go free now???

GFU POS

• My parents were taken to the cleaners on their first new car, a 1957 Chevy 2-10 wagon stripper. (No radio even.) \$3,000. (I discovered the bill of sale years later. Should have gone for about \$2,200. That \$800 difference in ’57 dollars is >\$6,000 today. I don’t think they knew you were supposed to bargain. I think they thought they were getting a deal on the end of the model year.

My mother learned her lesson. AFter that, she’d do the car shopping, and she’d call one dealer, get a price, call another, ask him to beat it, call another, etc. They never went to the dealer until they were ready to buy.

• Sammy Hagar

Now I'm not going to claim this was a great vehicle…the belt tensioner started whining like 2 weeks after I bought it (dealer replaced gratis), the gas mileage sucked (duh), tires were expensive to replace and the interior was a rattle-trap. But for what I paid at the time, I think there was a lot of value there, especially as it was the height of SUV craziness. Am I broken up that I traded it in only three years later? No, as our needs (kids, fuel economy) changed and we could afford better. However, it is one of the few car deals I've done where I didn't second-guess myself ("screwer's remorse") in the days following purchase.

Hopefully the new Explorer will give me pause to consider it when the time comes for a new winter vehicle.

• dbol1977

Interesting,

I also bought a 2000 Explorer Sport in 2002 for what you paid for yours but you got a better deal than me. Mine was not an XLT, did not have 4WD, did not have a moon roof, had a manual tranny, had the stillborn push rod 4.0 V6, had a lot more miles on it (58k), etc, etc.
It did have the running boards and a good stereo with the CD and Cassette.

I also just got my first job after college and my cherished 9c1 Caprice with the LT-1 got stolen so I was in a hurry to find a ride. I wanted a full size bronco or a 5.0 Mustang but my folks insisted I get this one and the spur of the moment (was not aware what newish Explorers were going for)agreed to buy (mostly finance) it for too much. A week later I regretted it, it was not what I wanted and relized I could have gotten an XLT with the same coin. Damn, I should have bought that Hunter Green (favorite car color)’91 5.0 Convertible with the overly stiff King Cobra clutch in Cash that I had.

I had the Explorer I did not like for four years. Why four years? I was because I was upside down on it for so long and saving up for the 2005 Mustang GT that sits in my drive way as I type this. This particular Explorer was a reliable one. The only repairs out of regular wear and tear Items were those pesky DFPE sensors and some body panels after wrecking it some myself or getting rear ended 3 times.

This explorer was the first car I financed and got from a dealer. It was my fifth car however. You live and learn. I hope that Vince fella did. I did get a good deal on the ’05 GT and it holds its value very well unlike the Exploder.

• Stingray

“For the sake of some of the readers who complained about the language in my Aspire review, I will redact this one”

Self censorship is FAIL. Period. The whiners that can’t stand real world words can go and complain somewhere else. I am disappointed, in part because that kinda ruined an otherwise good write.

“That (African-American) (individual who performs oral sex on men) was fucking stupid enough to pay the ticket.”

For the sake of my english as second language improvement (and soon to be language for survival) I would like to get “educated” :D

If making it public creates a hell of a problem with the pussies that couldn’t stand a word like “faggot”, Mr. Niedermeyer has my email.

Thanks.

• Stingray

LOL, and now my comment is awaiting moderation.

And I’m off to get the flame retardant suit.

• Steve65

if my inference skills have not failed me, the redacted phrase is “nigger cocksucker”.

Now to see if I’m caught by a filter… (click)

• sfdennis1

…and we have the “As*hole of the day” award winner here, folks…Congrats Mel Gibson…Sorry, I mean, Stingray…your KKK membership enrollment form and “proud fag-bashers” sash will be sent to you in the mail…

In reply, sorry to hear that your enjoyment of the article was lessened because the insults and slurs were omitted or only hinted at… it must really wreck your day when you can’t read some nice offensive slurs, huh? For you, a day without an offensive slur is like a day without sunshine, right?…wow, it almost brings a tear to my eye, all the suffering you endure…

Or is it that you’re too stupid to figure out the actual words omitted, without them being spelled out for you?…Yes, that MUST be it, your lobotomy surgery went quite badly, and you are now left as a complete moron through no fault of your own. If so, that’s too bad about your mental challenges and such…

So that you’ll suffer less in a modern, tolerant society, why don’t you go and get a time machine, get in it, and drop dead…because the days of neanderthal bigots (like you?) calling the shots are increasingly over…deal with it, sugartits.

• Steve65

Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of rule around here about hate language directed against other users? sfdennis has made a habit of it.

• sfdennis1

Wow Steve65,
For a poster of “n—-r c——–r”, you sure forget your own recent posting history pretty quickly…clean up your own act, and then worry about mine, OK?

And just to understand your position, you’re saying it’s great to advocate that the posted articles should have ethnic and sexual slanders, like Stingray did, but “I’m the problem” because I will call out bigots and idiots as such? yeah, well guess again…I don’t post any insults unless someone ELSE opened up the sh*tcan of ignorance and slurs first…

• newcarscostalot

Sfdennis1, it appears that you missed the humor of both Stingray’s and Steve65’s comments. I would have been fine with the article had the words that were redacted been left in place and I am not a bigot nor am I ignorant. I may however be an idiot, but I do not admit to that.

• sfdennis1

@ newcars
Honestly, I spend waaaay too much time trying to educate people on f*cking Baruth posts…he’s actually a good writer, but seems to attract the caveman crowd.

And you missed my ‘angry humor’ at Stingray, see, I don’t literally think he’s had a lobotomy (probably), I’m just saying that homophobic or racial insults aren’t funny to some people…show some godd*amn respect, is all I’m asking.

“Faggot” isn’t a funny term to many people, or to someone like to me, who has actually been called a ‘faggot’ by a group of homophobic thugs at night, while I ran for my life, afraid I would be beaten to death if they caught me…at other times I have been punched in the face, spat upon, and called every name in the book…and I am DONE taking crap from idiots who laugh at the term fag, faggot, or any similar insult.

In the year two-thosand-friggin-ten, if you can’t get that slurs aren’t humor, and at least out of some MINIMAL level of respect, either blank–out or hint at the offensive insulting term (as Baruth did, thank you, and about friggin’ time!) you deserve every insult returned to you tenfold, so that your ignorant a*s may eventually LEARN that insulting terms “don’t feel good” to hear, and cut that sh*t out.

Too difficult to understand? I hope not.

• newcarscostalot

I understand your point of view, but try to take the story and any words you don’t care for in the context in which they were written. If you don’t wish to do that, no problem. If laughing at the parts of Jack’s story that contains the word ‘faggot’ makes me an ignorant ass caveman in your eyes, then I guess I will have to remain a bonehead. Try to relax, enjoy the show and laugh. Being angry can cause ulcers and stress.

• Once, while I spent the better part of an afternoon negotiating the price of an Uno Mille down 15%, I watched in horror as an old guy walked into the dealership and got robbed. He came in saying he wanted a basic no frills Fiat Siena, with no nothing and a 10% discount. Just the engine and the trunk he claimed he needed. They first sent him a guy, and then, somehow saw this approach wasn’t working and sent him a salesgirl. Wow, she was a looker. She smiled at him, held his hand, spoke to him in a low voice and was almost in his ear. The old man, at first tense and adamanant, mellowed down. Ler her seduce him. He walked out of the dealership an hour and a half later, with a fully loaded Siena. So he paid almost riple what he initially insisted he was paying.

The girl got a fat comission. He propabably got a boner (not to mention a payment book, because he couldn’t afford in cash the loaded car). I shook my head in dislbelief. What do you say? And you Jack, if you read this, ever saw this tactic of unleashing young, fresh, hot saleswomen to tear down vulnerable guys resistence? Or this is unique to Brazil?

• Wheeljack

I was selling Fords when the Explorer first launched in 1990 as a 1991 model. Until the arrival of the Explorer, we pretty much sat around all day glued to CNN watching Gulf War I play out, just like most Americans at the time.

Once the Explorers started showing up in any volume, we finally started to see some traffic at the dealership. Unlike Jack’s situation, we sold every Eddie Bauer that came in almost immediately, and people seemed genuinely disappointed to have to “settle” for an XLT.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had a “loss-leader” 2wd XL model advertised in the local paper to get people in the door. I want to say it was listed for \$15,999 (or maybe \$16,999 – memory is slipping a bit) and it was truly stripped save for an automatic trans. This thing actually had a maroon vinyl bench seat with a column shifter (no, really) and was resplendant in its metallic maroon paint set off by it’s perfectly flat hubcaps (?!). Needless to say most folks wanted to see what else we had after seeing this little gem.

• rudiger

Dealership sales stories are interesting primarily for the deceit and survival involved – the idea of how low will someone go to make a buck so they can eat. Consider that without Vince, there wouldn’t have been a trip to Disneyworld. I also wonder where Vince was dining during that same time frame.

Once, while getting a carwash at a BMW dealership, a salesman came over and decided to tell me that it was a ‘special’ carwash machine. It was really just the usual, normal automatic carwash anyone has, but the salesman felt compelled to lie like a bastard for no apparent reason (other than to keep in practice).

Likewise, I once drove up to a Honda dealership in a hybrid and was looking at an S2000. As a salesman walked by with someone else, he called out to me, “They’re bringing out a hybrid version of that next year!” Again, he just couldn’t keep himself from lying.

I suspect that’s really what’s going on with the tactics at the sleaziest car dealerships. It’s a game of finding out exactly how uninformed a potential buyer could be. To ‘not’ take advantage of someone that obviously is too lazy/stupid to do their homework before walking into a dealership would be considered ‘unethical’ by the car salesman ‘code’.

Fortunately, most people simply don’t have the stomach for such behavior. It reminds me of a Will Rogers quote: “I’d rather be the one who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the one who sold it”.

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