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Car Dealership Lingo

August 25, 2022, Automotive Industry, In the News, Out of State

Every industry has its own lingo. Sometimes it’s used as verbal “shorthand” that conveys direct meaning. Other times it’s used as code that communicates a hidden message. Regardless, when people buy a car, they often hear terms that make no sense to them, so we put together this list of dealership lingo and what the words and phrases mean.

Back Door Trade

After a customer and salesperson negotiate back and forth and a deal has been reached, the customer announces that they’d like to trade in their old vehicle.

Back-End

The gross profit created in the F&I office after the sales price of the car has been agreed to. Back-end profit includes add-ons like aftermarket products, warranties, or GAP insurance.

Beacon

Credit score generated by Equifax that shows a customer’s creditworthiness. 

Beater 

An old beat-up car with high mileage, dents, or bad paint. Also called bombs, buckets, clams, clunkers, crates, heaps, junkers, and toads. 

Blower or Blowhard

If you’re seriously “just looking” and have no intentions of buying a car, dealership staff may refer to you as a blower. It’s really not an insult, they just know that they aren’t going to spend their time trying to get you to buy something you’re not going to buy anyway.

Boomerang 

A price on a car or trade-in that no one else can match, making the buyer boomerang back to the dealership. 

Bring a Lawyer

A lawyer is a friend brought along to help secure a better deal and provide the buyer advice.

Bumblebees

A car buyer that can’t decide between multiple vehicles and bounces back and forth between them on the lot.

Bunny

Opposite from the blower is the bunny, a customer that doesn’t negotiate and is more likely to take the first offer.

Cherry Picker 

A salesperson that only helps certain customers, based on how they are dressed or what they are driving.

Clicks

A click is a mile, so a car with 15,000 clicks has 15,000 miles on it – the number of times the odometer has “clicked” another mile.

Flipped

When a car buyer has a trade-in that is valued for more than the sticker price of the car they are looking to buy.

Front-End

Gross profit made on a transaction, not counting F&I (the Back-End)

Grinder

A customer that haggles back and forth to get the very best deal.

Ham Sandwich

A car sale with a small amount of profit.

Lot Lizard

A customer who visits a lot multiple times a week and talks to every salesperson but never buys anything.

Monroney

The window sticker on every new vehicle that is required by law that includes the MSRP, options, and other required information. Named after Mike Monroney, a former Senator from Oklahoma.

Negative Equity

This happens when you owe more on a vehicle than it is worth. So, if you trade in a truck for $5,000 but still owe $7,000, you have $2,000 of negative equity that must be rolled into your next loan.

Pounder

The same as one thousand dollars. Kind of like “hundo” means “hundred,” a pounder means someone made a thousand dollars on a deal. 

Soft Pull

A credit inquiry that does not impact a customer’s credit score.

Spot / Stiff

A spot is a customer that comes in and buys a car the same day. A stiff is a customer that a salesperson spends a lot of time with but ultimately chooses to not buy.

TD

Short for “Turned Down,” as in, “This customer was turned down for credit everywhere.”

TT&L 

Tax, title, and license (of course you knew that!)

Underwater

See “negative equity.”

How many of these terms do you use at your dealership? Automotive Titling Company (ATC) works with dealerships to provide the industry’s most accurate tax, title, and registration fee information to make the car buying experience easier for your shoppers and more profitable for dealers, lenders, and auto technology companies. We work with every DMV, in every jurisdiction in the country, to make it easier for you to sell cars. To learn more, contact us.

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