Car Dealership Glossary

This article is part of these free modules:

Sales 100 - Building Basic Sales | Sales Tips

When you get started in a dealership as a new salesperson you’re quickly introduced to words and phrases that are likely very unfamiliar to you. Every industry has jargon, (special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.) and the dealership is no different.

As you take our courses we will use positive industry jargon. We try to avoid any of the negative jargon that isn’t appropriate for a professional vehicle salesperson.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of new words you’ll be exposed to, but its a great primer to help you fit in and feel like you’re part of the team.

ACV Actual Cash Value – The value your manager has appraised the customer’s trade-in

Addendum – An addendum is an additional sticker posted near the manufacturer’s label (Monroney or used vehicle safety inspection and price disclosure.)  The addendum can be found on new or used cars and details any dealer-added options and/or market pricing adjustments.

Allocation – The new vehicle inventory the manufacturer allows the dealer to purchase for a time period.

APR – The interest rate of the auto loan or the rate used when quoting payments to the customer

As-Is – The vehicle has no warranty, or the warranty is unknown.

Back-End – The gross profit made in the F & I Department, not including Front End

Bait & Switch – Advertising a low price “bait” car that does not exist.  Then, when a customer comes in to look at that car, switching them to a more expensive car.  This is illegal and reputable dealers do not do this.  If someone comes in on an ad car, and that car has sold… simply tell them that.  

Beacon – A credit score

Be-Back – A customer who had previously visited the dealership, and are making a second visit.

Bird Dog – Someone who refers a customer to a dealership/salesperson in exchange for a reward.  Cash or otherwise.  Bird dogging is illegal in some states.

Book Value – The value of a vehicle based on traditional guides such as Kelly Blue Book, The Black book, NADA (JD Power), and others.

Box, The – See F & I

Business Office – See F & I

Buyer’s Remorse – An emotional response from a car buyer during or after buying a vehicle where the buyer regrets having made the purchase.  Also see “Cooling-off Period

Buy-Here-Pay-Here – A dealership that has in-house financing arrangements that yypically cater to subprime borrowers that cannot be approved through a traditional lender.

Chase Car – A car and driver that accompanies another car when bringing a vehicle to another location to retrieve the driver of the first vehicle.

CRM – An acronym for Customer Relations Management.  This is the software the dealership uses to track customer-facing activities.

CSI – An acronym for Customer Satisfaction Index.  The rating system the manufacturer uses to track how well your dealership and you specifically are satisfying customers.

Deal Jacket – A folder or packet that contains the information of the customer’s transaction when buying the vehicle

Dealer Trade – When one dealership trades another dealership for a vehicle.  This is typically only done on new vehicles from the same manufacturer.

Demo – A car from inventory that someone at the dealership, typically a manager is given to drive. Also sometimes used as a shorted version of “Demo Drive”

Demo Drive – Also referred to as a test drive.  When a customer and salesperson take a vehicle out for a drive so the salesperson can demonstrate the features to the customer.  The customer will also drive.

Desk – Where the used or new car manager sits.  Sometimes this is a central location (see Tower) or simply the manager’s desk.  Also, see “Touching the desk”

Equity – When a customer owes less than what their vehicle is worth, they have equity in their vehicle.

F & I – The F & I Office, where the customer signs his paperwork and is presented with additional protection package options, ie: warranties, maintenance plans, insurance products, etc.

Flipped – When a customer owes more than what their vehicle is worth, they are flipped. (Also see Upside down)

Floorplan – The money the dealership borrows to finance the purchase of inventory.

Front – The gross profit made on the sale of the vehicle, not including “Back End”

Get-Me-Done – A customer who will buy a car if they qualify for financing.

Gross – The gross profit made on the vehicle.  This amount may or may not include F & I

Hat Trick – Selling three cars in one day.

Holding – Profit made when the ACV of the vehicle is higher than the trade allowance.

House Deal – A sale with no salesperson assigned and will not pay a comission.

Jump Box – A portable battery pack used to start a vehicle with a dead battery.

Locate – See dealer trade

Mini – The smallest commission a salesperson can earn on a sale.

MMR – Manheim Market Report. An estimate of what a dealer can expect to get for a vehicle when sent to an auction for wholesale

Monroney Label – (The window sticker) is a label required to be displayed in all new vehicles sold in the US that will include the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (M.S.R.P.), a listing of options, and other required information about the vehicle. The sticker is named after the late Mike Monroney, he was a former United States Senator from Oklahoma.

MSRP – Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price.

Negative Equity – When a customer owes more on their trade-in than the appraised value.

One-price Store – A dealership that does not negotiate on price.

Orphan Owner – A customer who purchased a vehicle from the dealership, but the original salesperson is no longer employed at the dealership.

Pack – An amount of money that is allocated to a vehicle.  This money typically accounts for advertising and overhead to operate the dealership and is not considered when calculating gross or commission.

Pencil – The price worksheet used to present payments to the customer.

ROI – Return on Investment

Sales Desk – See “Desk”

Sales Funnel – A visual representation of the customers that any given salesperson is actively working with.

Save-A-Deal – A meeting of managers where they examine lost deals and look for ways to resurrect them.

Service Walk – Taking your customer on a tour of the service department.

Skate – Taking a customer from another salesperson without their consent.

Slump – A period of time where a salesperson is not making the quantity of sales he feels that he is typically capable of making.

Split – Two salespeople will share in the commission of a sale.

Sticker – The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price of the vehicle on a new vehicle or the original asking price of a used vehicle

Straw Purchase – Someone who is buying a vehicle for someone else.  Talk to your dealer about their position on straw purchases.

T.O. – Turn Over.  When a manager, or another salesperson attempt to make a sale to a customer before they leave the dealership.

T.T. & L. – Tax, title, and license

Upside Down – When a customer owes more than what their vehicle is worth, they are flipped. (Also see Negative Equity)

UP – A customer who is on the lot, the showroom, or the phone (phone up).

Voucher – A document that displays the payable commission the salesperson earned on a particular sale

Walk – A customer who is about to leave the dealership.

Walking numbers – (Walking papers) The final pricing a dealership will give the customer before they leave.

We Owe – A form used for something that was promised to the customer, and not able to be provided at the time of the sale.

Wiggle Room – Room to negotiate on the price

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