Ultimate Guide to Car Salesman Slang And Dealership Terms

Are They Talking About You?

Ultimate guide of car salesman slang, lingo and terms the secret car salesman language.

Welcome to the most prominent car salesman slang directory on the internet.

The car salesman slang, lingo, and terms used at car dealerships are sometimes very cryptic to the uninformed car buyer. Dealership employees have slang terms covering almost everything that has to do with the business of selling cars.

Keep your ears open, and you might hear car salesman and their slang terms openly used during your visit.  Take a minute and look below to familiarize yourself with some of the slang and jargon that car dealers and salespeople use to communicate.

I had this up today, it was a split with another salesperson, and I wasn’t going to skate him by taking his deal. The customer told me he was a bullet and wanted to pay a nickel under the invoice minus the trunk money. He was a real grinder and kept trying to walk on the deal. The sled he had to trade had cancer and may-pops. He was buried and wanted all the money for it.

He kept backing up on me, and I didn’t want to broom him because he was my hat trick, so I finally had to get a T.O. The boss couldn’t do anything with him either.

Finally, the GSM ended up flipping him several times and then de-horsed him in a demo. He’s my be-back for tomorrow.

Do you have a car salesman term not on the list? Send it to me, and I’ll add it. Reader’s submissions have an asterisk on them.

Familiarize yourself with all the car dealer slang terms, or jump to a section below:

A – BCDEFGHIJ – K – LMNOPQRSTU – V – W – X – Y – Z

A

  • Ace –Term describes a customer that signs on the first offer. Usually very profitable for the car dealership.
  • ACV – Abbreviated term for Actual Cash Value. Refers to the real value of a trade-in.
  • Ad-Buyer, Paperboy – Lingo used to describe a car buyer who walks into a car dealership with a print copy of the latest car advertisement and is looking to buy a car at the price advertised.
  • Addendum – An addendum is a sticker is an additional sticker posted near the manufacturer’s label (Monroney or MSRP). The addendum can be found on new or used cars and details dealer-added options and market pricing adjustments. Some dealers will create addendum stickers to look closely like the MSRP sticker in hopes of fooling a consumer into believing the car came from the factory with the pricing attached. Read more about how dealers use addendum stickers to increase profit.
  • All American Deal* – Slang used to describe a car zero money down deal financed for 72 months.
  • Allocation – The definition of allocation and how vehicles are allocated can differ from OEM to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The primary purpose is the new vehicle inventory an OEM allows the dealer to purchase. For some OEMs, allocation may relate to what vehicles are forced upon a dealer more than what a dealer wants to order.
  • Appointment – Car salesman slang for a customer that has arrived at the car dealership by making an appointment by phone, email, or previous contact.
  • APR – Dealer term for Annual Interest Rate. The interest rate is found on your auto loan.
  • As-Is – The vehicle has no warranty. You own both halves if it breaks in half on the way home.
  • Atomic Pencil – When a manager makes an extremely high initial offer to a customer to get them thinking about how much they will pay for the automobile.
  • ATPSO* – Car salesman slang for describing a customer’s trade-in on an appraisal sheet. It means “A Total Piece OS***.”

B

  • Baby Sitter – A cosigner placed on a loan to help the buyer get approved for the vehicle.
  • Back, Backend – This dealer term refers to the F&I actions in a dealership. It is used to identify the gross profit made in the business office after the physical price (front end) of the vehicle is agreed to with the customer and most often is used to identify the gross profit made in the business office.
  • Back Door the Trade – When you do not bring your trade-in up to the dealer until you have negotiated a lower price for the vehicle you are acquiring.
  • Backing up, Backwards, Backed up – When a customer abruptly backs out of a transaction or decides against a bargain even after the terms have been satisfied.
  • Back of Book* – Slang used to describe a (not-so-hot) girl that walks onto the showroom floor and is not worth as much as she seems. It also means to hold money on the trade-in when presenting the value to the customer.
  • Bait and Switch – One of the book’s oldest (illegal) tricks. This scam works by advertising a low price on a vehicle that’s often not in stock (bait) and then switching the customer to a higher-priced or inferior vehicle once they arrive. Read more about the car dealership bait and switch scam.
  • Ball Buster* – Term used to describe when a prospect comes to the lot and aggressively tries to lower the price without having any intention of purchasing the vehicle.
  • BCA or BVA (Borrowed Car Agreement) – Car salesman slang describes a borrowed car agreement or vehicle agreement. A BCA is used to let a customer take a new or used vehicle for an extended test drive overnight or a few days. Read a BCA carefully to understand the terms and conditions of the test drive.
  • BDC – Dealer term used to describe the Business Development Center (call center).
  • Beacon, Beacon Score – Slang used to describe the credit score generated by Equifax. It provides the lender’s insight into the customer’s creditworthiness. A dealer wants to know the beacon score as soon as possible, so they know if they have someone that can buy a vehicle.
  • Beater – Term used to describe an old beat-up car. It has high mileage, has many dents, and the paint is terrible.
  • Be-back – This car salesman slang is 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!”
  • Be-Back Dust – Similar slang to the above used to describe a new guy walking customers. Example – “The newb sprinkled be back dust on three ups today.”
  • Bird Dog – Car salesman lingo describes an individual who will bring car buyers in the market to a specific car salesperson or car dealership, generally for a cash reward.
  • Blew Out, 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.
  • Blower, Blowhard – Term used to describe a customer wasting a salesman’s time with no intentions of buying a vehicle.
  • Blue Hair, Silver Hair – Car salesman terminology is used to describe car buyers who are senior citizens.
  • Bogue* – Short for bogus, has terrible credit, tries to get a weekend rental. They are also referred to as people who will do anything to buy a car but cannot purchase anything.
  • Bomb – An old vehicle that has no value.
  • Book – Term used to describe the wholesale books used to put a value on a customer’s trade.
  • Book of Business – There are several slang terms for this. It describes everyone going into your sales funnel, including prior customers.
  • 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 return 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!”
  • Box, The Box – Dealer term used to describe the Finance & Insurance office (F&I office or Business office). This is where customers will sign a mountain of paperwork when buying their vehicle. They will also be presented with aftermarket products, high-profit warranties, and insurance products such as credit life or GAP insurance.
  • Bring Back – Car salesman slang used to describe when an individual had to bring a car back because they could not get financed or for any other reason.
  • Broom, Broomed, or Broom’em – Car salesman jargon used to describe getting a customer that isn’t going to buy today or can’t buy out of the dealership.
  • Bucket – Slang to describe a vehicle that is not in very good shape and not worth much money.
  • Bullet – Used to describe someone with an excellent credit history. This person can buy whatever they want.
  • Bumblebees* – Car buyers that can’t decide between three or more vehicles.
  • Bump – The term describes getting the customer to pay a little more. An example would be the customer is locked on a $350/month payment, and the salesperson needs to “bump” them to $375/month to buy the vehicle.
  • Bunny – Term used for a customer who is not a very good negotiator and ends up paying way too much for a vehicle.
  • Buried* – When you owe so much more on your current vehicle, you can’t trade it in. (So much negative equity can’t buy anything.)
  • Bus Driver – A coworker or a customer who goes to one’s superiors to criticize or tell about someone.
  • Business Office – Slang describes the area or office where the F&I Managers work.
  • Busting Bugs – Term used to describe a customer that has taken delivery of their car and has left the car dealership in their new vehicle.
  • Bust Out* – Term used to describe a customer with lousy credit.
  • Buy or Die – Car salesman slang is used to describe following up or keeping in contact with a customer until all possibilities of buying a car are exhausted.
  • Buyers are Liars – An old saying by a car salesman.
  • Buyer’s Remorse – This 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. Most 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 avoid it altogether is not to rush the process of buying a car. Reviewing my new and used car buying tips, ensure you’re as informed as possible.
  • Buy-Here-Pay-Here – Describes a dealership with in-house financing arrangements catering to subprime customers that cannot be approved through a traditional lender due to severe past credit issues.

C

  • Cancer – Slang term used to describe rust on a vehicle. This term may also convey an employee with a bad attitude.
  • Candy Store – Lingo describes a dealership with many vehicles in inventory.
  • Car Drunk – This dealer term is sometimes used when a customer is presented with too many options and gets too confused to make a decision. They then want to go home so they can think about their decision.
  • Car Pedigree* –  Term used to describe a clean, one-owner vehicle with a spotless vehicle history report.
  • Car Salesman Mantra – Car salesman terminology describes a saying used to pump up car salesman. Commonly used or said in a group setting during the morning sales meeting. The Car Salesman’s Manta is “Today’s the day, you’re the guy, this is the place.” Becoming a professional car salesman is a challenging career choice. Regarding it, sales are 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. It would be best if you had self-discipline and continuing education to become a professional car salesman. You can have all the skills 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 having. This is where a true professional retail car salesman rises above the rest. No matter how often 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 throughout his day.

Very few professional car salesmen 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 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.

Check out my article on the life cycle of a professional car salesman to recognize the pitfalls of becoming a professional car salesman.

  • Chase Car – Term is 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 when describing another salesman that is selective on which customers they will assist by how they look, how they’re dressed, or what they are driving.
  • Chisler – Dealer slang for a customer who spends hours haggling over a small amount of money.
  • Choke and Croak – The finance office sells life insurance and disability policies.
  • Clam – A beat-up trade-in that is worth little to nothing in value. It can also be used to describe cash.
  • Clean out* – Term used for when selling a manager’s dem. The salesman will have to remove all of the manager’s personal belongings so detail can prep them for sale.
  • Clicks – Term used to describe a vehicle’s mileage, with one mile equaling one tick of the odometer.
  • Close, Closed – The car salesman term describes an individual who 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.
  • Clunker – Used to describe an old beat-up vehicle or vehicle that “clunks” or “knocks” when running.
  • Cockroach* – Slang term used by the old school or Veteran salespeople/managers will refer to customers with bad credit that they feel are wasting their time.
  • Code 4 on the Sales Floor – Term used to let other salespeople know there is a beautiful female on the showroom floor.
  • Come On – Dealer slang is used to describe when the buyer is led to believe one thing and it turns out to be something else.
  • Crate – Lingo to describe a vehicle that is not worth much money.
  • Cream Puff – Slang salespeople use to describe a pre-owned vehicle that is in perfect condition.
  • Credit Criminal* – Term used when an applicant has not paid any of his creditors.
  • CRM – An acronym for Customer Relationship Management. In the dealership world, it is used for describing the software a dealership uses for tracking and managing all customer contacts.
  • Crop Duster – Slang is used to describe a vehicle that is blowing smoke out of the tailpipe.
  • CSI, SSI (Sales Satisfaction Index) – This is a term used for Customer Satisfaction Index, and it refers to the rating system most OEMs use to grade a dealership’s performance. It is also used to grade the performance of the individual salespeople and managers. The score is based on buyer responses to survey questions. This is also called SSI (Sales Satisfaction Index) or survey.

D

  • Daddy’s girl* – Needs a parental co-signer to get approved to buy a car.
  • Dead – When there is absolutely no way to get a car deal approved. It would be considered a “dead” deal.
  • Deadbeat – Car dealer term to describe someone with terrible credit.
  • Deal, Folder, Jacket – Car salesman jargon 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. It can also be used to describe a customer.
  • Dealer Principal – Term used to describe the owner of a dealership.
  • Dealer Trade – Lingo is 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 new car or truck that the dealership does not have in inventory. A dealer may look to make 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 dealerships located in different states.

Car dealers can look at other dealers’ inventories through their computer systems and tell you where the exact car is that you’re looking for. If the vehicle is close, a dealer can set up a dealer trade for you. You must be careful when agreeing to buy a dealer trade. Typically, you cannot 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, they have to “Dealer Trade” the vehicle. Make sure the vehicle has no dealer options added to the car you’re unwilling to pay for. Also, ensure you get it in writing; you’ll be able to inspect and drive the vehicle before signing a contract.

  • De-Horse, De-Horsed – Slang is used when a car salesperson 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 with a certain amount of miles already on it. The miles were added to the car because one of the Managers or Owners of the dealership has been previously driving the vehicle.
  • Demo Drive, Demonstration Drive, Presentation Drive, Test Drive – Lingo describes when a car salesperson and a customer take a new or used car out on a drive to see if it meets the customer’s driving needs.
  • Desk, Tower, Sales Desk, Sales Tower, Sales Office – Car salesman slang describes 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 could keep an eye on the sales floor.
  • Desk Log – Also known as an “Up Log.”  It is a book or ledger to record everything that has happened today in the dealership on the sales floor. When a salesperson takes a phone call or has a prospect on the lot, they will write down the general information they can on this log. It will help with follow-up and tracking customers.
  • Diamond – A car that is both beautiful inside and exterior and works well.
  • Dime* – Car salesman term for $1000.00 (used when describing a customer’s money down.)
  • Disneyland Shoppers* – Buyers that can’t decide between three or more cars.
  • Down Stroke –  Slang used to describe down payment.
  • DTI – Abbreviation for Debt To Income. This is a financial calculation to determine the percentage of debt a buyer has compared to their gross monthly income.
  • Duck on the pond – Car salesman slang describes a customer who is on the lot and has not been attended to.
  • Duece* – Term used for $200.00. (used when describing a customer’s money down.)
  • Daddy’s girl* – Needs a parental co-signer to get approved to buy a car.
  • Dead – When there is absolutely no way to get a car deal approved. It would be considered a “dead” deal.
  • Deadbeat – Car dealer term to describe someone with terrible credit.
  • Deal, Folder, Jacket – Car salesman jargon 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. It can also be used to describe a customer.
  • Dealer Principal – Term used to describe the owner of a dealership.
  • Dealer Trade – Lingo is 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 new car or truck that the dealership does not have in inventory. A dealer may look to make 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 dealerships located in different states.

Car dealers can look at other dealers’ inventories through their computer systems and tell you where the exact car is that you’re looking for. If the vehicle is close, a dealer can set up a dealer trade for you. You must be careful when agreeing to buy a dealer trade. Typically, you cannot 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, they have to “Dealer Trade” the vehicle. Make sure the vehicle has no dealer options added to the car you’re unwilling to pay for. Also, ensure you get it in writing; you’ll be able to inspect and drive the vehicle before signing a contract.

  • De-Horse, De-Horsed – Slang is used when a car salesperson 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 with a certain amount of miles already on it. The miles were added to the car because one of the Managers or Owners of the dealership has been previously driving the vehicle.
  • Demo Drive, Demonstration Drive, Presentation Drive, Test Drive – Lingo describes when a car salesperson and a customer take a new or used car out on a drive to see if it meets the customer’s driving needs.
  • Desk, Tower, Sales Desk, Sales Tower, Sales Office – Car salesman slang describes 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 could keep an eye on the sales floor.
  • Desk Log – Also known as an “Up Log.”  It is a book or ledger to record everything that has happened today in the dealership on the sales floor. When a salesperson takes a phone call or has a prospect on the lot, they will write down the general information they can on this log. It will help with follow-up and tracking customers.
  • Diamond – A car that is both beautiful inside and exterior and works well.
  • Dime* – Car salesman term for $1000.00 (used when describing a customer’s money down.)
  • Disneyland Shoppers* – Buyers that can’t decide between three or more cars.
  • Down Stroke –  Slang used to describe down payment.
  • DTI – Abbreviation for Debt To Income. This is a financial calculation to determine the percentage of debt a buyer has compared to their gross monthly income.
  • Duck on the pond – Car salesman slang describes a customer who is on the lot and has not been attended to.
  • Duece* – Term used for $200.00. (used when describing a customer’s money down.)

E

  • Easy – Term used to describe a car buyer going through the dealer’s sales system and not putting up any defense.
  • Equity – When a customer owes less than the vehicle is worth; they have “equity” in their car.
  • Ether, Under the Ether – Car salesman slang is used to describe when a customer makes car-buying decisions based on emotion and makes it very easy for the salesman to sell them a car.
  • Eyeball – Lingo describes how much eye appeal a vehicle has.

F

  • F&I – Finance and insurance.
  • F & I Manager – The person in the dealership that has you sign the contracts and will attempt to up-sell you with extended warranties and insurance products.
  • FAB – This term is for Feature, Advantage, Benefit. A FAB Statement will present a vehicle’s features like run-flat tires, the advantage that it provides (allows you to drive an extra 50 miles on a flat tire), and how that benefits the buyer (you’ll be able to make it safely home or to the shop should you ever get a flat tire).
  • Fairy* – Internet customer that walks in with all their car buying research in a folder.
  • FDRS – An incredibly insulting word to a client since it stands for “Filthy, Disease-Ridden Swine” or a person who never repays a creditor who gives them a chance. “You qualify for our FDRS program,” the dealer may say. They will attempt to obtain bank clearance, but the dealer will choose the automobile.
  • Fence Jumper, Climber, Ups in the Wire – Car salesman term to describe an individual that has just completed a car buying transaction.
  • Firm Grip* – Car salesman term for when a customer is buried in their trade. (owes way more than what it is currently worth.)
  • First Pencil – Lingo used to describe the first offer written on paper that is presented to the customer to begin the negotiation process.
  • First Time Buyer – Term used to describe an individual that has never financed or purchased a vehicle in their lifetime.
  • Five-Pounder – This term can have any number in front of the “Pounder.” A pound represents $1000. A five-pounder would be $5,000 in gross profit on the car deal. Some dealers only count the frontend profit, but some will count the front and backend of a car dealer for the total pounds.
  • FLEET Manager – An individual employed by a car dealership that handles high volume sales through businesses, state, or city agencies.

A FLEET Manager will usually contact small businesses and city or state agencies that require vehicles to conduct business. FLEET Managers are generally not commission based, so they can 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 sell books and information on the best way to buy a car 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 Manager 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 pass you off to someone acting as a FLEET Manager. This does commonly happen to unsuspecting car buyers. I know of sales managers with business cards made up, giving them the title 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 your dealer contact can be beneficial when buying your next new vehicle as long as you’re sure you’re dealing with one.

All car dealers pay the same price for their new vehicles from the manufacturers by law. Educating yourself on car buying is the secret to getting the lowest price on a new car. If you’re not sure what you’re doing when buying a car, the FLEET Manager or any other car salesman will still try to take advantage of you.

  • 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 dealer’s financing. *Flipped – is also used the same way as the term negative equity. “He’s Flipped in his trade“..or upside down.
  • Floorplan – This is a dealer term used to describe the money the dealership borrows to finance vehicle inventory. The dealer pays interest on this until a vehicle is sold and the floorplan is reduced. This is one of the many reasons dealers try turning their inventory over in so many days.
  • Flopper* –  Slang used to describe a customer does not argue price; they buy on the first numbers.

Click here to learn how to buy a new car at the lowest possible price.

  • FNG* – The clean version would be: Effin New Guy.
  • Fresh Up – The term describes when a customer first contacts the dealership or arrives in person. Example:  “Hey boss, just got a fresh up that hit the lot.”
  • Friday Car – Car salesman slang is used to describe a new car with a “not-so-common” problem. The salesman may say the manufacturer built that car at 4:45 pm on a Friday and the workers rushed so they could go home at 5:00.
  • Front-End, Front – Slang term used to describe the gross profit made on the sale of a vehicle, not including F&I (the back or back-end).
  • Front Line Ready – Car salesman terminology describes a new or used car that’s been taken into the dealership and inspected, tested, detailed, and ready for sale.
  • Full Bore – Term used to describe when a car salesperson sells a car for the full sticker price with no discount.

G

  • G-Note* – Slang for $1000.00. (used when describing a customer’s money down)
  • Gas Guzzler – Dealer lingo used to describe a vehicle that lacks fuel economy.
  • Get-Me-Done – Salesman term used to describe someone with abysmal credit who is desperate to buy a vehicle.
  • Ghost – Dealer term used to describe a customer that doesn’t have a credit score.
  • GM, General Manager – Abbreviation car salesman used for the car dealership’s General Manager. He is overall responsible for the entire dealership, personnel, and day-to-day operations.
  • Go for a Walk* – Old school slang before computerized inventory, you walked the lot to see what was there and note anything unique or unusual with the inventory.
  • Go-Go Juice – Car salesman slang to describe fuel that is put in the new and used cars.

A pretty self-explanatory lingo car salesperson may say when they are about to 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.”

  • Gold, Gold Balls – Used to describe a customer with perfect credit and a sizeable down payment. This customer can buy any vehicle they want.
  • Grape – Dealer slang for a customer that is not a good negotiator and is very easy to close at a very high profit.
  • Green Pea – Term used to describe a new car sales associate 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.
  • Gross, Grosses – Used to describe the gross profit of a deal; the difference between the vehicle cost and how much it was sold for. Sometimes gross profit is confused with net profit. The gross profit is used to pay salaries and all other business expenses. Whatever remains after that is called net or net profit.
  • GSM, General Sales Manager – Car salesman abbreviation to describe the General Sales Manager of the car dealership. This individual is responsible for a car dealership’s entire retail sales floor.

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 the GSM work car deals at a dealership. They usually manage the New and Used Car Sales Managers. However, a few GSMs will still work car deals with customers.

Most individuals with the “GSM” title come up through the ranks on the retail sales side of a car dealership. GSMs also have excellent communication skills, a goal-oriented mind, and a decent knowledge of the parts and service side of retail car sales.

H

  • Ham Sandwich – Lingo describes a car deal with a moderate profit.
  • 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 sale or switching salespeople out while keeping the customer at the dealership for a long time.

A car sales assistant may use this term to describe how they negotiate 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 playing hardball with a salesman, “This customer is hammering me about not wanting to pay over invoice for the car.”

  • Heap – A term used to describe a vehicle with little value.
  • Hand Shaker* – Salesman vocabulary describes a car or truck with a manual transmission.
  • 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 sells three cars in one day. This type of spiff is called a hat trick. Little ongoing bonuses and spiffs like hat tricks keep the competition and morale up on a sales floor.

  • Head* – Head is another term for a customer, as salespeople see heads bobbing around the car yard between the vehicles.
  • Hit Everything, but the Lottery – Slang describes a vehicle with high body damage.
  • Hold, Holding – The term is when the dealer keeps something from the customer. An example would be if a customer’s trade was worth $5,000, and the dealer tells the customer they will give them $3,500. The dealer is “Holding on the trade.”
  • Home Run – Car salesman term to describe any deal that produces a hefty profit.
  • Hooked, Hook’em – Car salesman slang when a car sales clerk 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 describes a car sale as an inside deal, employee deal, or friend deal. The deal typically makes little profit and originates within the dealership.
  • House Mouse – This slang is used to describe a salesperson that always tends to get all the house deals from management.

I

  • In The Bucket* – Depending on the part of the country you’re in. This term can mean “You owe way more on your trade than it’s worth,” or it could be used to describe someone with such bad credit (or debt) that they’ll never be able to buy anything.
  • Instant Retargeting – This is a term used when presenting the online visitor an offer as soon as they leave the dealer’s website (usually via website pop-under or in an adjacent tab in the browser) intending to generate an incremental sales lead. Dealers believe they are “on their way out,” so why not take one last shot at turning them into a sales lead.
  • Ivory Tower – Slang used by car salesman to describe where the owner of the car dealership or the General Manager’s office is located.

J

  • Jack* – Dealer slang for a customer jerking the salesman around (or the explicit explanation is, “j***ing off the salesman”) with no intentions of actually buying a car. This term is similar to the car salesman slang word, stroke.
  • Jalopy – Lingo used to describe an old worn-out vehicle.
  • Juice – Slang is used to describe a loan’s interest amount.
  • Jump box – A portable battery with jumper cables, so it’s easy to jump-start a car.
  • Junker – Term used to describe a vehicle that is not worth much money and will go straight to the wholesale lot.

L

  • Land Yacht – Slang is used to describe a very large vehicle or a vehicle that has an excessive size.
  • Lawyer – Term used to describe someone who tags along with a buyer to negotiate for the actual buyer of the vehicle.
  • Lay Down – Dealer term to describe a buyer who agrees to everything and accepts your first offer (Salespeople love this person).
  • Leftover – This is a new car that has not been sold by the time it was replaced by the current model year.
  • Leg –  Term used to describe an exaggerated quoted payment. For example, suppose a consumer purchased a new automobile. Their entire funded amount is a flat $25,000, which includes tax, title, and fees but does not include their down payment. Example: “Don’t worry, I have a little leg to work with if they want to negotiate the price.”
  • Liner or Liner-Closer – Car salesman slang used to describe another salesman skilled in the art of negotiation. Some car dealerships have a system called a liner or liner-closer system. This is when a customer refuses to buy a car; the dealer will send the salesperson (liner) after salesperson in to negotiate and speak with the customer until they finally give in (or get tired) and buy a car.
  • Load’em Up* – This car salesman slang is used to describe when a weak salesperson gives a customer a copy of the invoice and a bunch of information such as brochures and color charts. So a frustrated sales manager will tell the salesperson, “You just “loaded him up” with a bunch of information, where an actual salesperson would have sold him a vehicle.

Another version of the term is when a customer closes at a much higher payment than the actual payment. The sales manager will tell the finance manager to “load him up.”  This means there is a lot of room for the finance manager to add backend products to the deal like warranties, protection plans, and insurance products without ever-increasing the payment the customer is already closed at.

  • Locate – Term used to describe when a car dealer finds a new car or truck in another dealer’s inventory that you want to buy. The dealer will get the vehicle for you to buy 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 you’re 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 been 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.

  • Lot Lizard* – Customer who cruises inventory three times a week, talks to every salesperson at the dealership, and never buys anything. They are also known as a Squirrel.
  • Low Ball* – Slang used when a sales assistant gives a customer a low price that no other dealer can beat when they shop you so that they can get them back to negotiate a final price.

M

  • Mama’s boy* – A male customer that needs a parental cosigner to get approved.
  • May-pops – Term used to describe bald tires on a vehicle.
  • Meat on the Bone* – Dealer slang used to describe when a car sale makes a decent profit.
  • Mexican silence* – This slang term is used to describe dealing with a prospect who will not let you know how much money they have for a down payment or refuse to answer any questions; this type of customer could be of any race.
  • Mini, Flat – This slang describes the smallest commission a salesperson can earn on a sale presented as a flat amount (sometimes called a flat). A mini is a guaranteed set amount ($100, $150, $200) by the dealership and can be split by salespeople if needed. Minis are paid on car deals with little or no front-end gross.
  • MMR – Term used for The Manheim Market Report provides an accurate estimate of what a dealer can expect to get for a vehicle when sent to an auction for wholesale
  • Monroney Sticker; Monroney Label – The Monroney label or sticker (often just called the window sticker) is a label required to be displayed in all new vehicles sold in the US that includes the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), a listing of options and other required information about the car. The sticker is named after the late Mike Monroney, and he was a former United States Senator from Oklahoma.
  • Mooch – Slang used to describe a customer that shows up at the car dealership during sales events to get something for nothing.
  • Mouse House* –  Term used to describe a finance company. Usually used to provide a customer with a down payment or to finance the deal at very high-interest rates.
  • MSRP – Short for the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price.

N

  • Needs Analysis – Term used to describe one of the most essential steps in the “road-to-the-sale” where the salesperson attempts to gather information from a buyer related to the buyer’s situation and their actual vehicle needs and wants.
  • Negative Equity – The amount of money you owe on your vehicle minus the actual cash value of the car. If you owe $15,000, but your vehicle is worth $11,000, you will have $4000 negative equity.
  • Nickel* – Slang for $500.00. (used when describing a customer’s money down.)
  • No Book – Term used when the vehicle being traded is not in the wholesale books, and there is no documented wholesale history to value it. The trade may be a late model vehicle or too old and has already dropped out of the book.

O

  • OEM – Term used for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Dealers often refer to Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, and other new car manufacturers as the OEMs.
  • Old Car Dog – Car salesman slang for a seasoned salesperson.
  • One Legger – Term used when a prospect doesn’t have their significant other with them.
  • One-Legged Up* – Customer who doesn’t have their spouse or decision-maker with them.
  • One-Price Store – Used to describe a dealership that does not negotiate the price. Sale prices are generally marked on every vehicle and the price you see is the price you pay. These stores will use a system like a “bucket program” to discount vehicles’ prices as they age out (get older).
  • Orphan Owner – Slang to describe a sales customer who bought from the dealership and their salesperson no longer works there and a service customer who purchased their vehicle elsewhere. In other words, they are orphaned and up for grabs if they do not have a salesperson or service writer assigned in the CRM.

P

  • Pack – Term used to describe the amount of marketing and overhead costs allocated to a vehicle. A pack can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over $1,000. The total pack reduces the commissionable gross on a deal like this: A vehicle is sold for a $2,500 gross profit. However, because it has a $500 pack, the salesperson’s commission is only $2,000.
  • Pad or Padding – Slang term used to describe adding fluff to the payment, so the dealer can reduce the payment without losing any profit. “Boss, you may want to add a little padding in the payment…this customer is trying to play hardball.”
  • Pencil, First Pencil – Slang used to describe the dealership offer to buy or worksheet presented to a buyer in the write-up. The first pencil is the first price worksheet or offers the dealership presents.
  • Ph.D.* – “My manager has a Ph.D.” Really? ” Yeah, Papa Has a Dealership.”
  • Phone Up Card – Also referred to as a call guide or script. This card helps guide the salesperson or BDC agent on the best way to answer a call so that it ultimately results in a shown appointment and a sold vehicle.
  • Pie Face* – A person with great credit who asks many questions and can’t sell them anything but the car.  There is no back-end profit on the deal.
  • Pipe Smoker* – This slang term is the same as a tire kicker, but is smoking their pipe/cigarette as they walk around the car.
  • Play House 90* – Term used when a car sales associate tells the customer that they will talk to the manager on their behalf but only act like they are doing it. Example: I will ask the manager if you qualify with $1000 down. (When they need $2000) They leave the room, stand around the corner looking at their watch, and come back to tell them no, they need to come up with $2000.
  • Player – This vocabulary describes a customer with excellent credit who can buy a car.
  • PMA – Primary Market Area. The territory is assigned to a dealer.
  • Pound, Pounder – Term used to describe $1,000 profit. A two-pounder is two thousand, a three-pounder is three, etc.

Q

  • Quarter – Car salesman slang to describe $2,500.
  • Quarterback – Car dealer slang for when a customer brings someone along to coach them or help negotiate a deal.

R

  • Rat* – Term used by Veteran salespeople/managers will refer to a customer with bad credit as a rat. They can also use it to describe a beat-up old trade-in worth little to no value.
  • Rat Muscles* – When a car salesperson gets someone with abysmal credit approved for a loan, they suddenly want a better car with all the options.
  • Rattletrap – A term used to describe an old worn-out vehicle.
  • Re-Hash – Slang term used when a finance manager has to call the lender to get a deal approved that was previously turned down. Example: “I have to call ABC bank and re-hash this deal.
  • Re-Work* – Slang used by someone when describing when they take a dead deal and restructure it to see if they can make it a car deal or sale for the dealership.
  • Ripped Your Lips Off – Term used to describe making a significant gross profit on a customer by easily out-negotiating them.
  • Roach – Dealer term for someone with a horrible credit history and can’t buy anything.
  • Road-to-the-Sale – The steps laid out by the dealership (sales process) necessary to sell a car.
  • ROI – Short for return on investment.
  • Rubberneck, Rubbernecker – This dealer slang is used to describe a customer with no intentions of buying a vehicle and is just wasting the salesperson’s time.
  • Runner – Term used to describe a customer that gets up from the negotiation process and starts to head for the door. When the customer gets up to walk, the salesperson yells, “we got a RUNNER!”
  • Russ* – Slang is used to describe an Asian customer. Asian car buyers tend to be very tough negotiators. Example: Salesperson – “May I help you, sir?” Customer – “Russ Rooking” (Also known in certain parts of the nation as “Too High’s”).

S

  • Sales Desk, Sales Tower – Term used to describe where the desk/sales managers sit when penciling deals.
  • Sales Funnel – This is a visual representation of every buyer and sales prospect the salesperson is working with or has previously worked with. The bottom of the funnel represents those closest to the close, while the top represents those who’ve just bought (and were moved from the bottom of the funnel back to the top) and those who might just be starting their research.
  • Save-a-Deal Meeting – Term for a meeting of sales managers (new car, used car, finance) with the General Manager or General Sales Manager where every lost deal from the day before is reviewed, and an action plan is developed for most of these (these can be solemn meetings).
  • Second Baseman – Dealer slang when a customer brings someone along to coach them or help negotiate a deal.
  • Seeding the lot* –  Term used to describe throwing pennies all around the vehicle lot with their heads up helps them feel lucky and encourages prospects to buy.
  • Service Walk – Slang for the part of a traditional road-to-the-sale where the salesperson introduces the new buyer to the dealership’s service department to show them where they would need to go for service or preventive maintenance items required by the manufacturer (oil changes, tire rotations, etc.).
  • Short Arm – Slang to describe a customer who spends a very long time haggling over a small amount of money.
  • Shotgun – Term used to describe when a finance manager sends a person’s credit information to several different lenders simultaneously to see which one will approve them for a loan. Example: “The customer has terrible credit; I shotgunned them to all of our subprime banks to see who would give them a loan.”
  • Showroom Log – Like a desk or up log, but in most CRMs, it displays just those customers currently at the dealership.
  • Sight Unseen – Term used to describe the appraisal of a trade-in that has not been physically seen by dealership staff.
  • Skate, Skating – Used to describe when you steal a customer from another salesperson.
  • Sled – Slang is used to describe a vehicle. “Hey, that’s a nice sled you have there.”
  • Slide Ruler – This lingo is used to describe a specification nerd customer. This customer wants to read everything and calculate any numbers before they will sign anything.
  • Slug – Term used to describe a customer that will not make a decision. The salesperson has to dig to pull answers out of the customer.
  • Soft Pull – Slang is used for an inquiry into a customer’s creditworthiness that does not impact their credit score like a hard pull would).
  • Spin* – When a salesperson doesn’t complete a sale. Example: “Jack has been spinning ups all morning.”
  • Split – Slang term describes when two salespeople split the commission on a car deal.
  • Spoon Fed* – When management gives a salesperson a car deal.
  • Spot – Lingo describes when a dealer gets you to take the car home the same day you look at it, and a lending institution does not officially approve you.
  • Squirrel – Car buyers that have no loyalty to a single salesperson.
  • Stick – Another slang term that means one thousand (two sticks = 2,000, etc.).
  • Sticker – Usually, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (M.S.R.P.) of a vehicle. “Hey, boss, I just sold that car for the sticker!”
  • Sticker Shock – The slang term is used to describe a customer who has no idea what cars are selling for. Example: “My customer has got “sticker shock” looking at the higher line vehicles on the lot. I need to switch him to a lower model vehicle.”
  • Stiff – Term for an individual with a poor credit rating is impossible to get them financed.
  • Straw Purchase* – Slang term used to describe someone buying a vehicle for someone else. Usually, because the customer has lousy credit, banks will interview customers to find out whether or not a “straw purchase” was made. This is a somewhat common occurrence, and lenders have gotten wise on how they ask if the car they are buying is for them.

Sometimes a straw purchase can be considered a scam in a dealership. Please read my What is an Automobile Straw Purchase article to learn more about the technique.

  • Stroke, Stroker* – Slang term used to describe a person that is just wasting a salesman’s time and either will not buy or is not ready to buy. Yet still wants to test drive all the cars on the lot. Similar to the term Jack.
  • Strong – The term describes a salesperson who closes a high percentage of car deals and sells many cars.

T

  • Tanked* – This slang describes when a customer is upside down or buried in their trade. (They owe way more on the vehicle than it’s worth.
  • TD – Term used for “Turned Down.” Example: “I’m having a hard time getting this guy approved… He’s been TD’ed everywhere.”
  • The Point – Lingo is used to describing a high-traffic location where there is a strong chance of intercepting a new customer. It can also apply to a building’s corner or front. Example: “Where has Steven gone?” “He’s most likely on the point.”
  • T.O.* – Slang for “Turn Over.” When you have to get help to close a customer from either another salesperson or a manager. “Hey, boss, these folks are trying to walk on me…can I get a too.
  • Toad – The term used to describe an old beat-up trade worth little to nothing.
  • Third Baseman – Car dealer jargon for when a customer brings someone along to coach them or help negotiate a deal.
  • Tire-Kicker – Term used for a non-buyer; someone just browsing the lot looking at window stickers and kicking tires with no intention of buying anything.
  • Too High – Term used to describe Asian customers. Asians are known to be very tough negotiators. Any price you give them, they will respond with, “Too High, Too High, you come down on price.”
  • Trade Walk – A term used for a daily gathering of salespeople outside to review the trades purchased the day before (so that they’ll know how to sell them). This can also describe when a salesperson takes a customer out to look at the vehicle they’re trading.
  • Tricked-Out – A car with after-market parts such as custom wheels, spoiler, or other installed custom parts.
  • Trunk Money – Used to describe factory to dealer incentives that are not publicly advertised.
  • TT&L – Short for tax, title, and license.
  • Turd – Slang is used to describe a vehicle that is in horrible shape.
  • Twisted – A vehicle that has been in a terrible accident.

U

  • UFO – Lingo for “U Freaking Own it!” (clean version). This is typically used when a customer wants to return a vehicle to the dealership.
  • Under Water – Term used to describe when a customer owes a lot more on his trade-in than it’s worth.
  • Unit – Term used to describe one vehicle (one piece of inventory)
  • Unwind* – Slang for when a dealer can not get a customer financed and has to get the car back from the customer. Example: Call Mr. Bogue and get the car back, he has horrible credit, and we are going to “unwind” his deal.
  • Upsell – Term used to describe anything sold to the customer that does not already come with the vehicle like alarms, scotch guard, locking lugs, etc.
  • Upside Down* – Upside down is the same meaning as underwater. When a person is upside down in their trade, they owe more than it is worth to the dealer.
  • Up, Phone Up – Term used to describe a customer either in the store or on the phone. “Boss, I have an “up” on the lot, and I just got a “phone up” also.”
  • Up Bus – Term used to describe a fictional bus that “delivers” the Ups that are “ready to buy” to your dealership.

W

  • Walk – A slang used to describe when a customer is done and leaving the dealership.
  • Walk-In – Car salesman slang for a car buyer that walks into the front door of a car dealership without an appointment.
  • Walking Numbers – A lowball set of numbers that a car dealership will give to a customer that did not buy before they leave. If they decide to go to another dealership, the other dealer will not be able to make the deal, and the customer will end up back at the original dealership.
  • Weak – Car salesman slang to describe a salesperson that cannot close any of his deals or hasn’t sold any vehicles without the help of other salespeople.
  • Weak Stick – Term used to describe a poor negotiating salesperson. “He’s a weak stick. He won’t be here at the dealership long.”
  • Weekend Rental* – A person with bad credit comes in Friday evening to buy a car, Monday, the dealer unwinds the deal due to no chance of getting finance. In the meantime, the customer gets to drive the car over the weekend.
  • We Owe – Form used for something promised during the sale that cannot be delivered until later. For example, the customer wants window tint added. You wouldn’t delay the sale and delivery of the vehicle and risk losing the sale. You would provide the customer with a “We-Owe” form detailing what you still owe them and then schedule them back into the dealership when you can provide these.
  • Whopper with Cheese – Slang is used to describe any deal with excessive profit.
  • Wiggle Room – Dealer slang for describing there may be a little negotiating room between the asking price and the actual dealer cost of a car for sale.
  • Wreck – Term used to describe a worn-out vehicle that isn’t worth much money.

Do you have a car salesman term not on the list? Send it to me, and I’ll add it. Reader’s submissions have an asterisk on them.

About the author
Carlton Wolf is the author and founder of Auto Cheat Sheet.My name is Carlton Wolf, and I’ve been in the car business since 1994, both retail and wholesale. I created the Auto Cheat Sheet to better educate buyers about the deceptive sales practices used by many dealerships throughout the country. Please understand that not all car dealers are dishonest. However, you never know who you’ll be dealing with, though. I’m willing to share my knowledge and experience with anyone who listens. Keep in mind that I’m a car guy, not a writer.