Car Dealer Slang Terms, Lingo, and Definitions
The slang, lingo and terms used at car dealerships is sometimes very cryptic for the uninformed car buyer. Employees within these vehicle dealerships have slang terms that cover customers, salesman, advertising, trade-ins, information about vehicles, car cost and sales price, options and add-ons, dealership profits and margins, financing and contractual elements.
Beware: Some of the slang and lingo used by car salesman is "not-so-nice" in the opinion of the car buying public and also some of the employees of the car dealerships. Keep your ears open and you might just hear car salesman and their slang terms during your visit.
Take a minute and look below to familiarize yourself with some of the slang and lingo that car dealers and salesman use to communicate. An educated car buyer is a car salesman's worst nightmare. Learning some of the terms below will put you on a level playing field with the car dealer and if you drop a couple slang terms yourself, you may just catch your car salesman off guard.
Familiarize yourself with all the car dealer slang terms or jump to a section below:
Ace - Term used to describe a customer that signs on the first offer. Usually very profitable for the car dealership.
Ad-Buyer, Paperboy - Lingo used to describe a car buyer that walks into a car dealership with a print copy of the latest car advertisement in hand and is looking to buy a car at the price advertised.
Appointment - Car salesman slang for a customer that has arrived at the car dealreship by making an appointment by phone, email, or previous contact.
Backing up, Backwards, Backed up - Slang term used to describe a customer that has come back to the car dealerhip from earlier that day or from a previous day.
Be-back - Car salesman slang used to describe a customer that has come back to the car dealership from earlier that day or a previous day.
Be-Back Bus - Car salesman slang used to describe a make believe 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!"
Bird Dog - Car salesman lingo used to describe an individual that will bring car buyers in the market to a specific car salesman or car dealership normally for a cash reward.
Blew Our, Blow Out - Car salesman slang used to describe a car buyer that may or may not get upset and leaves the dealership in a hurry.
Blue Hair, Silver Hair - Car salesman lingo used to describe car buyers who are senior citizens.
Boomerang - Car dealer slang for giving a customer a price or value on their trade that no other dealer will be able to match. This makes the car buyer come back to the dealership after shopping all over town. An example would be, "I let those people leave on a boomerang."
Boss - Slang name for the new car Sales Manager, Used Car Manager, or higher ranking personnel. Example: "No problem Boss, I'll get right on it!"
Bring Back - Car salesman slang used to describe when an individual had to bring a car back because they could not get financed or any other reason.
Broom, Broomed or Broom'em - Car salesman lingo used to describe getting a customer that isn't going to buy today or can't buy, out of the dealership.
Busting Bugs - Term used to describe a customer that has taken delivery of their car and has left the car dealership in their new car.
Buyer's Remorse - Is an emotional response from a car buyer during or after buying a new or used car. Buyer's remorse can be feelings of depression, anxiety, fear or regret.
The majority of car dealerships across the United States do not have a three day return policy or cooling off period on new or used car purchases. "Buyer's Remorse" will not be enough to get you out of a vehicle purchase or return a car to the dealer.
The best way to minimize buyer's remorse or to avoid it all together is to not rush the process of buying a car. Make sure you're as informed as possible by reviewing the Auto Cheat Sheet's new and used car buying tips.
Car buying tip: Car salesman are very aware of buyer's remorse and know that it can be a deal killer. Do not let a car salesman or dealer manipulate or persuade you into signing a binding contract or any other paperwork until you're ready to buy the car.
Sometimes car dealers, like my own, will go the extra mile and give a car buyer a little extra peace of mind. Depending on the situation a dealership may provide a customer with a hand written "back-out guarantee" or "three day cancellation clause." You may want to see if you can get one of these added to your deal but these offers are often far and few between. Make sure you read the "fine print" if you get a cancellation clause added to your contract.
Buy or Die - Car salesman slang used to describe following up or keeping contact with a customer wintil all possibilities of them buying a car is exhausted.
Car Salesman Mantra - Car salesman lingo used to describe a saying that's used to pump up car salesman. Normally used or said in a group setting during the morning sales meeting. The Car Salesman's Manta is:
"Today's the day, your the guy, this is the place."
Becoming a professional car salesman is a tough career choice. When it comes down to it, sales is 10% skill and 90% attitude to be successful.
Now don't take me wrong. Car sales is a skill, an art form all of its own. You must have self discipline and a continuing education to become a professional car salesman. You can have all the skill and training in the world but if you have a bad attitude, you will find yourself broke, hungry and burned out.
You must portray self confidence and a positive attitude whenever dealing with customers no matter what kind of day you're really having. This is were true professional retail car salesman rise above the rest. No matter how many times they hear "NO" they keep pushing forward with a positive attitude. The Car Salesman's Mantra helps a car salesman keep a positive mental attitude thought out his day.
What's a car salesman's day like? Read our article on the Typical Day in the Life of a Car Salesman.
Car buying tip - There are very few true professional car salesman that make a very good living in the car business. Most individuals get into the business because they've heard you can make quick money or they think it's easy. These green salespeople find out fast that it's not as easy as it looks. Most of them burn out and don't last long in the business.
You never know who you will be greeted by when going to a car dealership. Protect yourself by having your car buying process 90% completed before contacting a car dealership. Read more about New Car Buying Tips here or Used Car Buying Tips here, and be prepared.
Chase Car - Term used to describe a car that follows another car when delivering a new car or truck to a customer or transporting a car to a service facility.
Cherry Picker, Cherry Picking - Car salesman slang for when describing another salesman that is selective on which customers they help by the way they look, how they're dressed or what they are driving.
Close, Closed - Car salesman term to describe an individual that has just completed a car buying transaction.
Closer - Car salesman saying used to describe an individual that's highly trained in the art of negotiation. This highly trained salesman will come in after the regular salesperson to get the customer to buy the car.
Code 4 on the Sales Floor - Term used to let other salespeople know there is a very attractive female on the showroom floor.
Deal, Folder, Jacket - Car salesman lingo used to describe a customer's packet that contains all of the information of the customer's transaction when buying a new or used car.
Dealer Trade - Lingo used by car salesman to describe when a dealership trades a new car or truck with another dealership.
If a customer is looking for a certain new car or truck that the dealership does not have in inventory. A dealer may look to do a "Dealer Trade" with another dealer to keep the customer's business at their dealership. A "Dealer Trade" may happen between two local dealerships or between dealerships located in different states.
Car dealers can look at other dealer's inventories through their computer systems and tell you where the exact car is that you're looking for. If the car is close a dealer can set up a dealer trade for you. You must be careful when agreeing to buying a dealer trade. Normally you're unable to visually inspect or drive the car before it gets to the dealer you're buying from.
Car buying tip - If you buy a car from a dealer and they have to "Dealer Trade" the vehicle. Make sure the vehicle does not have any dealer added options added to the car you're unwilling to pay for. Also make sure you get it in writing that you will be able to visually inspect and drive the car before signing any contracts agreeing to buy the vehicle. Read more about the latest New Car Buying Tips and How to Avoid Car Dealer Scams here.
De-Horse, De-Horsed - Slang used for when a car salesman takes a customer out of their current car and puts them in one of the car dealer's cars to drive.
Demo, Demonstrator - Car salesman slang to describe a vehicle that has a certain amount of miles already on it. The miles were added to the vehicle because of one of the Managers or Owners of the dealership has been previously driving the vehicle.
Demonstration Drive, Presentation Drive, Test Drive - Lingo used to describe when a car salesman and a customer take a new or used car out on a drive to see if it meets the customers driving wants and needs.
Desk, Tower, Sales Desk, Sales Tower, Sales Office - Car salesman slang to describe where the New or Used Car Sales Managers sit and work the car deals in the dealership. It's derived from back in older dealerships the area where the Managers sat in a car dealership was elevated so they can keep an eye on the sales floor.
Duck on the pond - Car salesman slang to describe a customer is on the lot and has not been attended too.
Ether, Under the Ether - Car salesman slang used to describe when a customer is making car buying decisions based on emotion and making it very easy for the salesman to sell them a car.
Fence Jumper, Climber, Ups in the Wire - Car salesman term to describe an individual that has just completed a car buying transaction.
FLEET Manager - An individual that is employed by a car dealership that handles high volume sales through businesses, state or city agencies.
A FLEET Manager will normally contact small businesses, city or state agencies that require vehicles to conduct business. FLEET Managers are normally not commission based so they are able to provide deep discounts when selling multiple cars to one buyer.
Some car buyers believe they will get a better deal if they work with a FLEET Manager. Some people on the internet actually sell books and information on the best way to buy a car is from one of these individuals. This is not always correct.
First you need to find a FLEET Manager. Not all car dealerships have a FLEET Manger employed at their location. You can contact a car dealer and ask to speak with someone in their FLEET Department.
You have to be careful doing this because if they don't have a FLEET Department they may just pass you off to someone acting as a FLEET Manager. This does commonly happen to unsuspecting car buyers. I know of Sales Manager's that have business cards made up giving them the title just to sell you a car.
In a car dealership, the running joke of what FLEET stands for is:
Full List Each and Every Time!
Car buying tip - FLEET Managers and their departments are being phased out and replaced by Internet Managers. Using a FLEET Manager as the your dealer contact can be beneficial when buying your next new vehicle as long as you're sure you're actually dealing with one.
By law, all car dealers pay the same price for their new vehicles from the manufacturers. The secret on getting the lowest price on a new car is educating yourself on the car buying process. If you're not sure what you're doing when trying to buy a car the FLEET Manager or any other car salesman will still try and take advantage of you.
To learn more on how to get the lowest price on a new car, truck, minivan or SUV from a car dealership. Read Auto Cheat Sheet's section on How to Get the Lowest Price on any New Car.
Flip, Flipped, Flipping - Slang used by car salesman when they switch a customer from one car to the other or switch a customer from their prearranged financing to the dealers financing.
First Time Buyer - Term used to describe an individual that has never financed or purchased a vehicle in their lifetime.
Friday Car - Car salesman slang used to describe a new car that has a "not-so-common" problem. The salesman may say the manufacturer built that car at 4:45pm on a Friday and the workers rushed so they could go home at 5:00.
GM, General Manager - Abbreviation car salesman use for the General Manager of the car dealership. He is overall responsible for the entire dealership, personnel and day to day operations.
Go-Go Juice - Car salesman slang to describe fuel that is put in the new and used cars.
Pretty self explanatory lingo car salesman may say when they are about to go put gas in a car. They may say something to their sales manager such as, "Hey boss, I just sold this car and I am going to put some Go-Go Juice in it."
Green Pea - Term used to describe a new car salesman that has just started their career in the business.
Grinder - Car salesman saying to describe when it takes a long time to negotiate a deal with a customer that's being stubborn and working the salesperson on discounting the price.
GSM, General Sales Manager - Car salesman use this abbreviation to describe the General Sales Manager of the car dealership. This individual is responsible for the entire retail sales floor of a car dealership.
The General Sales Manager or "GSM" of a car dealership is second in command at a car dealership. He may or may not be part owner of the car dealership also. It's not common to see a GSM actually work car deals at a dealership they normally manage the New and Used Car Sales Managers. However there are a few GSM's that will still work car deals with customers.
Most individuals that have the "GSM" title come up through the ranks on the retail sales side of a car dealership. GSM's also must have great communication skills, have a goal oriented mind, and a decent knowledge of the parts and service side of retail car sales.
Hammer - Car salesman slang used to describe putting hard pressure on a customer to get them to purchase a new or used car.
To hammer a customer is to put a lot of undue pressure on the customer to buy a car. This can be done by persistently asking for the sell or switching salespeople out while keeping the customer at the dealership for a long period of time.
Car salesman may use this term to describe how they are negotiating with a customer. They may say, "Boss, I am trying to hammer this guy but he is not wanting to buy a car today."
It may also be used to describe a customer that is playing hard-ball with a salesman, "This customer is hammering me about not wanting to pay over invoice for the car."
Hat Trick - Car salesman slang used to describe selling three cars in one day.
Some car dealerships have bonus's in place for car salesman that sell 3 cars in one day. This type of spiff is called a hat trick. Little ongoing bonus's and spiffs like hat tricks keep the competition and morale up on a sales floor.
Hooked, Hook'em - Car salesman slang for when a car salesman gets a customer to say yes when buying a new or used vehicle.
House - Car salesman lingo for calling the car dealership itself.
House Deal - Lingo to describe a car deal that is an inside deal, employee deal or a friend deal. The deal normally makes little profit and originates within the dealership.
Incoming - Term used to describe a customer turning into the lot from the main road.
Ivory Tower - Slang used by car salesman to describe where the owner of the car dealership or the General Manager's office is located.
Jumpbox - A portable battery with jumper cables so it's easy to jump-start a car.
Liner or Liner-Closer - Car salesman slang used to describe another salesman who is skilled in the art of negotiation.
Some car dealerships have a system in place called a liner or liner-closer system. This is when a customer is refusing to buy a car, dealer will send salesperson (liner) after salesperson in to negotiate and speak with the customer until they finally give in (or get tired) and buy a car.
Locate - Term used to describe when a car dealer finds a new car or truck in another dealer's inventory that you're wanting to buy. The dealer will get the vehicle for you so you can buy it from them.
Looking for a Good Buy (BYE) - Car salesman slang (more on an insult) for when a customer is being ridiculous or rude to a car salesman. The car salesman will say, "Mr. Customer it sounds like your looking for a good buy today, so GOODBYE!"
You don't want to be the customer that complains to the Manager about a car salesman saying this to you because he may have bee the one that told the salesperson to say it to you.
The Manager may act like acting on your complaint by getting on to the salesman, but it's all an act. The Manager is also going to use this time in an attempt to close you on buying the car.
Mooch - Slang used to describe a customer that shows up at the car dealership during sales events to get something for nothing.
Walk-In - Car salesman slang for a car buyer that walks into the front door of a car dealership without an appointment.
Familiarize yourself with the most common Car Dealer Scams committed in dealerships nationwide.
Car Dealer & Salesman Scams Exposed Index