​Car salesman slang, jargon, lingo, terms, acronyms and definitions

It’s no secret that car salesman and dealers have their own way of describing cars, deals and customers. Some are used daily in every dealership and on every used pitch. Some are country specific while others are more universal, most are used only when speaking to other salesman or sales mangers. But if you are planning to deal in cars or planning to buy a car in the future it’s a good idea to understand the basic slang, jargon and lingo used in the motor trade.

1. Gun Turret

A sunroof.

2. Tyre-Kicker

Someone just browsing the lot looking at cars and kicking tires.

3. APR

Annual percentage rate. Used when quoting car finance.

4. Upside-down

When a customers P.X is in negative equity.

5. Be-Back

Describes someone who’s been in the dealership but did not buy. The term originates from the prospect’s promise that they’ll “be back.”

6. Be-Back Bus

Car salesman slang used to describe an imaginary  bus that will come back to the car dealership with all the customers that have told the car salesman while leaving, “I’ll be back!”.

7. MMR

The Manheim Market Report provides an estimate of what a dealer can expect to get for a vehicle sent to auction.

8. Up

A potential car buying lead.

9. A Cow

A car with full leather interior.

10. Grinder

A person who likes to negotiate hard to get a lower price.

11. CRM

An acronym for Customer Relationship Management.

12. Buyer’s Remorse

Buyer’s remorse is the feelings of, anxiety, fear or regret after buying a car.

13. “The feel of the wheel will seal the deal”

If you can get a potential client to test-drive a car, they will buy it.

14. OEM

Original Equipment Manufacturer. 

15. Home Run

A deal with a large profit.

16. Re-Work

Slang used by someone when describing when they take a dead deal and restructure it to see if they can get a sale.

17. Buyers Are Liars

A saying used by car salesman to remind themselves that the customers are the ones to watch.

18. CSI

Stands for Customer Satisfaction Index and it refers to the rating system most manufactures use to survey a dealership’s performance.

19. DOC Fee

Short for document fee. This often applies to a fee for setting up finance on a car and is charged to a customer.

20. Stolen/Stole It

Bought a car, or took a trade in really cheap.

21. Walk-In

Car salesman slang for a car buyer that walks in to a car dealership without an appointment.

22. ACV

Actual Cash Value. Refers to the real value of a trade in.

23. boots

tyres.

24. Ivory tower

a managers office.

25. Minter

Refers to a used vehicle that is in excellent shape.

26. Ghost

a person with no credit history.

27. Buried

Describes a customer who owes far more than their trade-in is worth.

28. blue rinse/hair

Slang to describe an elderly customer, normally a woman.

29. Lowball

Refers to a very low offer to buy a vehicle.

30. Cherry Picking

Used when describing another salesman that is selective on which customers they help. Based off first appearances and often when they are driving.

31. A drink

A tip, kickback or payment of any kind Given by a salesman or dealer to another dealer or salesman.

32. Turd

A junk or bad car.

33. Four-square

A mostly American sales tactic. When negotiations begin the salesperson divide’s a worksheet into four squares which represent the four elements of a car deal, new car price, trade-in value, monthly payment and down payment. The aim is to work the buyer into agreeing or disagreeing with each square, allowing you to work the figures and close the deal. 

34. A Fridge

A car with either climate control or air conditioning.

35. Surrender

A customer who walks in takes whatever deal the salesperson offers.

36. As Is

A trade sale with no warranty and no comeback.​

37. Tanked

Slang used to describe when a customer in negative equity. 

38. Green or green pea

A new and inexperienced car salesman that has just started.

39. MSRP

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

40. Sticker price

as above.

40. VIN

Vehicle Identification Number is a 17-digit number identifying your specific vehicle.

41. Smoker

A car that a dealer or sales manager is using as a daily driver before it’s sold. Normally something high-end, rare or fast. 

42. Wiggle Room

Dealer slang for describing when there may be a little bit of negotiating room in the price.

43. Hat Trick

When a salesman sells three cars in one day.

44. Fleet Manager

The manager that handles high volume sales to businesses, governments, taxi firms etc.

45. Back End

The amount of profit made by the selling of finance, warranties and insurance and other kinds of extras.

46. Weak

Car salesman slang to describe a salesperson who hasn’t sold any vehicles.

47. GSM, General Sales Manager

Car salesman use this abbreviation to describe the General Sales Manager of a car dealership. The GSM is responsible for the entire retail side of a car dealership.

48. Go-Go juice

Car salesman slang for fuel.

49. Lot Lizzard

A regular tyre kicker who often visits the site and never buys anything.

50. ROI

Return on investment.

51. Closer

An experienced salesman or sales manager who come in after the regular salesperson to get the customer to buy the car.

52. Dealer Principal

The owner or managing director of a franchised dealership.

53. Blower

Someone who comes into a store claiming they are going to buy a vehicle but dont.

54. Friday Car

Car salesman slang used to describe a car with problems.

55. Duck on the pond

Car salesman slang for describing a customer is on the lot.

56. F&I

Finance and Insurance.

57. Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI)

The pre-delivery inspection of a vehicle for display or delivery.

58. ‘full lick’

selling a car at the full asking price.

59. Lead

This is the term for information about a person who may be interested in buying a car.

60. Dealing shoes

 Salesman’s lucky selling shoes. 

61. F&I Manager

The person in the dealership that sells finance and insurance.

62. Demo Drive, Presentation Drive, Test Drive

 Lingo used to describe when a salesman and a customer take a new or used car out on a drive.

63. Front-End/Front

The gross profit made on the sale of a vehicle, not including F&I etc.

64. Lay Down

A buyer who agrees too and accepts the first offer.

65. Gross

The gross profit of a deal, the difference between what an asset cost and how much it was sold for. The gross profit is used to pay salaries and all other business expenses. Whatever remains is called the net or net profit.

66. Dealer Trade

Used by car salesman to describe when a dealership trades a car to another dealership.

67. GM, General Manager

Abbreviation car salesman use for the General Manager of the car dealership. He is overall responsible for the entire dealerships day to day operations.

68. Slicks

Tires with no tread left.

69. ‘All the bells and whistles’

Description of a fully optioned car.

70. T.O./Turn over

When a salesman is getting nowhere with they customer, they pass the customer to another salesman or manager.

71. Sandbagging

Holding off on closing potential deals once you’ve already hit your quota for the month, so that you can easily hit your numbers the following month.

72. Up-selling

Making a sale more profitable by convincing a customer to purchase a more expensive product than the one they intended to buy, or selling additional services and products like, finance, paint protection and tyre care.

73. ‘more hits than Elvis’

A way of describing a car with lots of panel damage.

74. P.X

A part exchange vehicle.

Conclusion

The motor trade is a very colourful place to work and the use of common slang reflects that. Most of the terms still used originated in the 1970’s but still remain in constant use today. The list above is by no means comprehensive but it covers the most commonly heard terms and give an insight into the language used by dealers and salesman.

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