Car Dealers Slang, Sayings and Lingo

There is a whole different language in the Car Business. I have put together the most common Car Dealers Slang, Sayings and Lingo to help you get a better picture into the world of Car Sales.

ACV: Actual Cash Value. Refers to the real value of a traded in vehicle.

Ad Car: An advertised special car that is a stripped down model for a low price.

As Is: There is No warranty. If the vehicle breaks in half you own both halves.

Atomic Pencil: Crazy, very high numbers given to the car buyer.

Bagel: A cheap, junky or low value vehicle.

Back End: The amount of profit from add on warranties, insurance, service contracts and interest.

Back Of Book: How much the car dealer has invested in a vehicle that is lower than the wholesale book value.

Be  Back: A customer that says they will be back, but very rarely does.

Be Back Bus: An imaginary bus for customers who say “I’ll be back,” It is a common term to jab new sales people that believe their potential customers are coming back to buy from them.

Bird Dog: A fee paid to someone for referring a new customer to the dealership, maybe between $50 & $100.

Customer in bankruptcy or had a recent filing

Blew Out: Refers to a customer who sees the first figures and blows out of the dealership.

Blue Hair/Silver Hair: A description for senior citizen customers.

Blow Them Out
: Sometimes a dealership salesman will intentionally blow a customer out, because they are making crazy low offers and they don’t want to waste their time on them.

Book: The actual value of a car traded in

Finance Office or where final paperwork is done

Broom/Sweep: Said to a car salesman that does a lot of meet and greets, but never gets any farther. Chased them away by being pushy or rude.

Buy Rate:
The minimum interest rate that the dealer has to charge customer based on the buyers credit rating

Buyers Are Liars: An old saying, used by car salesman, also “If their lips are moving they are lying”

Box Close:
Some dealers actually Close or agree on final numbers and terms in the Box(finance office).Brick, Golden or Gold Balls: These dealer slang words refer to customers with great credit.

Bump: This car dealer slang term refers to getting the customer to sign for a higher payment than they said they would.

Buried/Flipped/Negative Equity/Upside Down/Tanked: These car dealer slang words refer to lots of negative equity in a trade in.Owing more than the trade-in is worth.

Call Them Until They Buy, Die or Get a Restraining Order:
An old saying from management to salesmen to get them to call customers than have been there previously.

Car Salesman Mantra
: Today’s the day, your the guy, this is the place.

Cherry Picking: a sales person that only takes customers that look or act like potentially easy buyers.

Cream Puff:
A used car in great condition.

Credit Criminal:
A customer with such bad credit that they never pay any of their debts.

Comin’ In:
The car salesman’s slang term to claim a customer driving on to the lot.

Crack/Gross Up/Home Run/Laid Away/Tear Someones Head Off:
These car dealer slang words all refer to making huge profits from a car sale.


Dealer Tattoo or UG:These car dealer slang words refer to a car dealership Unconditionally Guarantees your loan to the lender. You go bad on the loan and the dealership is responsible for repayment in full to the lender, also called on the hook. (these are rare)

De-Horse: To deliver a car and take them out of their old car (their trade in) without a bank approval. Keeps the customer from shopping while the dealership works on the approval. Very common practice.

DOC Fee: Short for documentary fee.  Most dealerships charge customers some sort of doc fee for processing paperwork.

Down Stroke: Refers to the down payment on a new or used vehicle being purchased.

DTI: Debt to Income ratio.  A finance calculation term using a customers gross monthly income for financing stipulations.

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

Eyeball: How good a car looks, or how much eye appeal there is.

FedEx ‘em: Putting a customer in a car for an overnight test drive, hoping they fall in love with it and also to level of commitment to buy from the customer. This will usually keep them from shopping elsewhere.

Finn or Nickel: $500.00

First Pencil/First Pass: These slang words refer to the first set of figures a salesman shows to customer when negotiating. Usually pretty big numbers to see if they will bite or accept them.

Fish: A sucker, the car dealer slang term that can also refer to new sales people.

Front End: The amount of gross profit between selling price and the cost of vehicle

Four Square: Form used by many car dealerships for negotiating with the customer.

Get Me Done: A customer with bad credit that is primarily concerned with getting financed rather than the vehicle they buy.

Green Pea: New sales person.

negotiations that take longer than normal. The salesman is grinding that customer until he gets the deal.

High Penny: To quote a customer, let’s say, 72 months at $320 a month and the actual payment is $320.99. This equals additional profit of $70 for the dealership.

secret money that the Car Dealer gets to sell the car to you from the manufacturer.

Hoopdy: Cheap, low value car.

Hosed Them:
This car dealer slang term means; made very good money on the car deal.

Hot Buttons:
Items that are important to the buyer. These are also items a salesman will put emphasis on during negotiation to get customer to use emotions to buy.

Import/Imported Tire Kicker: This old car dealer slang phrase referred to Canadians when their dollar was worth less and they never bought vehicles in the states.

Laydown: A customer that agrees to the first set of numbers they are told without negotiating.

Leg: This is fluff in a quoted payment, so that finance has a better chance of making more money from a customer. If a customers real payment is $320 and the salesman has quoted $340, then there is $20 in leg.

Liner and Closer: A selling system where the liner represents the person assisting with vehicle selection and test driving, while the closer is the one to negotiate with the customer.

Looking For A Good Bye: A sales managers slang phrase to customers making ridiculously low offers. “It sounds like you are looking for a good buy, so, good bye!”

Lot Drop: If a sales person were to go to speak to a customer and was told “I’m just looking,” then didn’t try to move the sale forward. This is called a lot drop and another salesman could go speak to the customer and not have to split the deal if one was made. This can be considered not doing your job by management.

Lowball: Refers to a very low offer to buy a vehicle or as a trade in value.

Meet and Greet: The initial meeting and introduction between salesman and customer.

when a car is sold at a very low profit and the sales person’s commission is a minimum, such as $50.00, $75.00 or $100.00.

A customer that comes in with their folder full of research in hopes of getting a better deal.

Breakeven point. As in “All we did was cover our nut when we sold that car”.

On The Hood:
Manufacturers incentive money available to customers, like rebates, on a specific vehicle.

One Legger: This dealer slang term usually refers to a husband without his wife.

Out of the Wrapper: a used vehicle that is in excellent shape.

Over Allow: When a car dealership shows a customer, let’s say $10,500 for a trade in, when it’s ACV is only $9,000, they have over allowed $1,500.

Pack: The amount of money that the dealer tacks on the cost of the car that reduces the amount of commission paid to sales person.

Packed Payment: Same as Leg. When a payment is quoted higher than what it should really be.

a customer with good credit.

Pounder: A pound refers to $1,000 profit. If the dealership made $4,000 profit, this would be referred to as a 4 pounder.

determining if a customer is a buyer by looking, talking or the experience of the salesman.

PTI: Payment to income ratio. A finance calculation used for qualifying a customer based on their gross monthly income.

Put Them On The Ceiling: Give them a very low amount on Trade-in or very High amount on payment to get them to throw their logic out the window.

Put Someone Together: To make a big profit and a deal through negotiating.

a repossesion

Reserve: The car dealer slang term means the finance profit from marking up a customers finance rate.

Ripped It/Stole It: Bought a car, or took a trade in really cheap or cheaper than the ACV.

Roach or Rat: These dealer slang words refer to customers with really bad credit.

Quarterback/Third Base/Maven: These slang words refer to a third party, related to or friends with the buyer, that either negotiates the deal for the buyer, or throws a wrench in the salesman negotiating.

Skate: A sales person taking a customer that asked for someone other salesman.

Slam Dunk: Refers to a big profit deal, or a sure “thing” deal.

A junk, low value car.

Slicks: Bald tires.

Spiff: A car dealership incentive to a car salesman for reaching a set goal or selling a certain car.

Spot It: To immediately contract and deliver a vehicle to a customer without a bank approval.

Stold It: Trading in a vehicle for an amount way under ACV.

Straw Purchase:
When someone finances a vehicle in their name, but the vehicle is for someone else.

Stroke: A customer that has no intention of buying now, or in the near future, and essentially wastes a salesman’s time.

Strong: When a salesman closes a tough customer, or bumps a customer, the salesman was “strong.”

Switch: To switch a customer from a vehicle they want, to a vehicle that they can get approved for, or has some kind of spiff in it for the salesman.

T.O.: When a salesman is getting nowhere with they customer, they Turn Over the customer to either another salesman, or a manager.

Take a Bath: Loosing money on a sale

The $500.00 Sandwich:
a sales person went to lunch and missed a sale.

The Close:
Come to an agreement on the final figures and make the deal.

Too Much Car: A customer is wanting to buy a vehicle that is out of their league financially, or for what they can get approved for.

Tire Kicker: The car dealer slang for a person that is looking with no intention of buying

Tower: The sales managers desk where sales people get the numbers and coaching

UFO: Censored version: U Frickin’ Own it! Said to customers that want to return a vehicle.

Under Allow: When a vehicle has an ACV of $8,000 and the dealership only shows $7,500 to the customer to increase profit

Up: A fresh customer on the lot.

Upside Down: Customer owes more on their Trade-In than it is worth.

Walking Numbers: A lowball set of numbers that a car dealership will give to customer that did not buy before they leave. The idea is that they will have very low numbers that other dealers will not sell for in order to bring them back.

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