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What Really Goes on at Car Dealerships

1084 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Edge

You probably loathe car salespeople. Most of us so and in many instances they probably deserve their sullied reputation.

These sometimes unscrupulous folks can be manipulative, pushy and downright dishonest in their dealings. We already walked you through the car-buying process but here’s what can really go on in a dealership’s shadows as one former metal mover opens up about his experiences in the business.

“If you don’t smoke as a car salesman you’re picking up a bad habit when you’re there,” said Josh Lewis, a one-time vehicle peddler at a combined Mazda/Kia dealership in North Carolina. With long hours and demanding supervisors “It was a high-stress job,” he said and a position that can lead to all forms of substance abuse, both legal and, well, not.

SEE ALSO: Tips From a Salesman on How to Buy a Car

Like big game hunters, salespeople start sizing customers up like wounded prey long before they ever limp across the showroom floor. “We judge the hell out of people,” said Lewis though, “If you look clean, if you look bright, we’ll chit-chat.” A little small talk before business can put both parties at ease.

Not surprisingly a dealership’s defensive perimeter extends far beyond the building itself. “If they [the customer] got in the door someone outside didn’t do their job,” said Lewis.

When a person walks in he said the salespeople tussle with one another to get a crack at the potential buyer. “Basically when they [shoppers] come up to the lot you do everything in your power to get their attention,” he said adding, “You have to be as polite as possible but you have to be assertive to make them want to come with you.”

Once a potential customer has been set up with a salesperson Lewis said the next step is often to fill out a long, boring form that covers things like income, home address, credit scores and much more. This helps determine how much the person can spend and what kind of financing they’re eligible for. Once the dealer knows a little about a driver’s monetary situation the salesperson can help guide them to the appropriate vehicle, whether it’s best for them or the dealership is another matter.

“I’d say probably 60 percent [of people] walk on the lot looking for a certain car or expecting to get a certain car and then actually end up leaving with something else, or nothing,” said Lewis, adding that there are several reasons why this can happen. “Sometimes the bank won’t buy them,” industry terminology for getting a loan, but there are sleazier explanations why sales don’t go through. “Sometimes it’s ‘this car is not going to make enough profit,’” he said. Managers will shoot things down if it’s not advantageous enough to their bottom line.

“Nine times out of 10 I knew if someone could buy something or not before I actually let them test drive a car,” said Lewis. And appropriately, “If I knew that they couldn’t buy it was my job to get them to exhaust every resource to get a cosigner,” be it a parent, a sibling or a friend, anything to make the deal work. “This was my job, this is what I had to do.”

And salespeople have many tactics to get you to buy something. Cars are some of the most emotional products in the world; there’s a lot of passion surrounding the automobile, even something as humble as a Toyota Corolla. Lewis said, “My job is to make them love something, fall in love,” even if it’s not the model they were originally interested in.

After financial formalities have been taken care of Lewis said it’s time to, “Let ‘em out of their cage” and go for a ride. “During the test drive you’re basically masking anything bad [about the vehicle] with lots of good praise,” he said. Giving an example he described a Dodge Stratus’ lackluster suspension as “sport tuned.” You get the idea …
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WOW! I have to say this guy "Really Hate's Car Dealerships"

What of all of the Customers coming in on a Sonic Budget, but really need a Traverse or maybe an Orlando? People coming in on a Cruze Budget, that are starting a New Traveling Job?

Or you have just spent $2000 on that new "Touch Screen" are you sure you know how to make the most of it?

Oh BTW. The person that sold you the Status, was just doing their job, The 1 that sold you the right vehicle for your needs were also doing their job. Just one does it better, and it was still "You" that brought out the wallet.

Don't describe "Everyone's experience" from 1 or 2 experiences! "Or Your's"
I'm so sick and tired of seeing articles like this ****. No reputable dealer uses practices like these. And while there are for sure some slimy and shady ones out there, they're a dying breed. My personal experience working with and for numerous stores have shown many more examples of good ones than bad.

All these articles do is perpetuate a negative stereotype and force a buyer to go in with an adversarial demeanor. And when they do that, it's bad for everyone.

I could write a book about how many shady, scamming, dirty customers I've dealt with. Far, far more than are car dealerships.
I'm so sick and tired of seeing articles like this ****. No reputable dealer uses practices like these.
But large, high-volume dealers frequently do.

A few of those big stores run by sharks are enough to taint the entire business.
But large, high-volume dealers frequently do.

A few of those big stores run by sharks are enough to taint the entire business.
Some do, yes. And in those cases, most likely the mfr's turn a blind eye. Some dealers are very good at knowing just what they can get away with, and whether or not it's worth the risk, or not.

I would say in the majority of cases, however, it's small dealers or groups. One's that have nothing to lose and everything to gain. A car dealer where I'm at was forced to sell their franchise due to the things they were doing.
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