Automotive Dealer Slang
Sometimes, when you go to buy a car, you hear terms that make no sense. This can leave you feeling confused and paranoid. Below, you'll find definitions for the words that are used by car salespeople.
Back Door the Trade: When you do not present your trade-in to the dealer until you have already negotiated a lower price on the car you are purchasing.
Back End: The amount of profit made in the finance office by selling warranties and insurance and all other kinds of extras.
Blower: Someone who comes into a store claiming they are going to buy a vehicle but never actually buys anything.
Broom: When a salesman lets a customer leave without checking with management and failing to gather your information. (Name, phone number, etc.)
Bunny: A customer who does not negotiate very well and is taken in for huge profits.
Bus Driver: Someone—either a fellow employee or a customer—that goes to one's superiors in order to complain or inform on someone.
Cancer: If the vehicle has any rot on it, this would be considered a cancer.
Choke and Croak: The disability and life insurance policies sold in the finance office.
Clicks: The number of miles the car has, with each mile representing one click of the odometer.
Diamond: A vehicle that is incredibly nice inside and out and runs great.
Dime: The equivalent of one thousand dollars.
Up: Every customer that comes through the door is an up, an opportunity.
F.D.R.S: A very offensive term to a customer as it stands for "Filthy, Disease-Ridden Swine" or a person who consistently never pays back a creditor who gives them a chance. The dealer may use terms like "You qualify for our F.D.R.S. program." They will try and get an approval from a bank, but the dealer will pick the car.
F & I Manager: The person in the dealership that has you sign the contracts and tries to up-sell you with warranties and Insurance.
Flipped: When the balance on your trade exceeds the actual value of the vehicle.
Front End: The amount of profit made on the vehicle itself.
Gold Balls: Someone who has an incredible credit rating.
Green Pea: Someone who is new at selling cars.
Grinder: A person who likes to negotiate and works hard to get a lower price.
Ham Sandwich: A deal with a moderate profit.
Hit Everything but the Lottery: A vehicle with a high level of body damage.
Home Run: Any deal with a large profit.
Juice: The amount of interest on a loan.
Lawyer: Someone who tags along with a buyer in order to negotiate for the other person.
Low Ball: When a salesman gives an unrealistic price to a customer as they are leaving— "Would you buy this car today if I saved you another $2000?" They cannot do the price and neither can any other dealer the customer goes to, leading the customer back to the low ball dealer at least one more time.
Mini: The smallest commission a salesman can get, meaning very little profit on the deal.
Negative Equity: The amount of money that you owe on your vehicle minus the value of the vehicle. If you owe $10,000 but your vehicle is worth $7000, you have $3000 negative equity.
Nickel: The equivalent of $500.
Pack: The dealership will allocate a certain amount of the profit to itself before determining the commission. Let's say there's a $2000 profit on the car— after a $500 pack, the salesperson will be paid $1500.
Pounder: A thousand dollars of profit. A two-pounder is two thousand, a three pounder is three, etc.
Quarter: The equivalent of $2500.
Rat: A car that is of substandard quality and not a good purchase for anyone.
Skating: When another salesman cuts in front of you to get the customer first.
Spot: When the dealer gets you to take the car home the same day you look at it.
Stick: Another word that means one thousand (and two sticks = 2,000, etc.).
Stiff: Someone who has a credit rating so poor it's impossible to get financing.
Stroker: Similar to a blower, someone who comes into the dealership trying to buy a car but wasting the salesman's time by never actually committing to a purchase.
T.O: A second person that comes in during negotiations, a turn over manager, who will usually play hardball compared to the salesperson.
Tire Kicker: Someone who comes into a dealership to browse, with no desire to purchase a vehicle.
Tricked-Out: A car with after-market parts.
Twisted: A vehicle that has been in a rough accident.
Upsell: Anything sold to the customer that does not already come with the vehicle like alarms, scotch guard, etc.
Upside Down: When the value of the car is less than the amount of money owed on the car.
Weak: A salesman who has a tough time closing deals could be called a "weak salesman."
Whopper with Cheese: A deal that has an exorbitant profit.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
WheelScene from U.S.A. on October 27, 2017:
Nice article! There are some terms I knew, but some new ones too, sometimes dealerships have their own lingo too!
MONTY P on July 01, 2017:
"BRICK" "MOOCH" "ROACH" "KICK THE TRADE"
Jmen on July 08, 2016:
they forgot "jack"
Moxnix on December 03, 2015:
Flat ... A flat amount paid as commission on low/no profit deals.
Lisa Thomas on April 30, 2014:
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Heavy Hitter on January 20, 2014:
Pounders all day long
Jesse on November 20, 2013:
Schwack! When you "crush" or "take someone's head off" and sell the car over sticker
Girl124 on August 16, 2013:
I work at a dealership and I have never heard of ANY of these except for mini. They use words like silver bullet and creampuff
Twebb on July 19, 2012:
What about a boge or a rental rocket?
Bear on June 12, 2012:
The most important one of all if u sell cars, DREK or DRECK. Bad bad credit customer. Yiddish for garbage.
tj on April 11, 2012:
what a out a "pin" for a nice trade and a "pail" for a lousy trade in
1large refers to a grand
cnote is 100
lawyer is actually "lot lawyer"
Knight on December 23, 2011:
The thought of buying a car makes my skin crawl even more now. I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than face a salesperson at a dealership.
joeshays on December 17, 2011:
Heard the name "paper hanger" referrs to the F&I guy. Anyone heard that?
jicky on October 05, 2011:
How about the term jicky... where does that one come from?
Arthur Fontes (author) from Fall River,MA on November 08, 2010:
Jim Larson A Pack is a certain amount of money that goes to the dealership before a commission is calculated.
Arthur Fontes (author) from Fall River,MA on November 08, 2010:
The Closer Not in my neck of the woods. Stiff is a sub prime customer.
Jim Larson on November 08, 2010:
What is an F & I guy referring to when he describes his PAC?
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Arthur Fontes (author) from Fall River,MA on August 19, 2010:
Alisha2010 Thanks for sharing. I am glad you enjoyed it.:)
Alisha2010 from Irvine, CA on August 19, 2010:
Posted this on my Twitter account. Great article! Really enjoyed reading it!
Shannon Paulk on July 06, 2010:
This is a great hub. A must read for every first time car buyer I must say. It's also a important to know about the financing and how to budget in necessities like insurance and warranties.
George Poe from United Kingdom on March 15, 2010:
Excellent !!! Love it..
Excellent story on February 18, 2010:
Mary Krenz from Florida's Space Coast on January 09, 2010:
Good to know.
Arthur Fontes (author) from Fall River,MA on December 14, 2009:
A home run would be a deal with huge profit. Gold Balls is a person with an incredible credit rating.
ehern33 on December 13, 2009:
This should come in handy next time, if I can ever hear the backroom chatter. Thanks. Gold Balls is kinda new to me, I have heard them called home runs..