Every industry has its own jargon.  Just for fun, the Planet team collected some terms that you might hear in various departments in a car dealership.  Each is used in an example sentence.  Enjoy! 

Ash Tray

Noun.  A car that has a strong tobacco smell.

"I don't think we can sell that ash tray here; the odor is too bad."

Baloney Skins

Noun.  Tires that are worn so badly that the tread is gone and the rubber is smooth.

"After 100,000 miles without a rotation, those tires are baloney skins."



Verb.  Find another dealer to guarantee a trade value when the trading dealer doesn't want to retail the car.

"We'll never sell a Lamborghini at a Subaru store.  Let's bank it with a dealer that specializes in exotics."


Burning Gas

Phrase.  Describes when a customer has paid for a vehicle and actually driven it away from the lot, so the transaction is fully consummated. 

Synonym:  "Busting Bugs."

"We sold nine cars this weekend but one is not yet burning gas because the customer has some credit issues that need to be resolved before the bank will approve the loan."



Noun.  Chrome wheels.

"That truck has the optional 20 inch chromies."


GAP Insurance

Noun.  Stands for Guaranteed Asset Protection.  If your car is totaled, GAP insurance protects you if you owe more on your car than your insurance company pays you for your car.  

"Good thing you had GAP, Ms. Smith, because your insurance company only gave you $20,000 for your car and you owed $24,000 on it.  Now you're off the hook for the $4,000 difference."


Green Pea

Noun.  A salesperson new to the car business.

"When Planet Subaru hires salespeople, we like to look for green peas so we don't have to break any bad habits."


Noun.  A manual transmission. 

"The customer needed to trade in the handshake for an automatic transmission because he had knee problems in his left leg."

Synonym:  Row your own.  "You can save a thousand dollars if you buy the base model and don't mind rowing your own."


H. I. Dizzles

Noun, partial acronym.  High Intensity Discharge headlights.  These are the bright white headlights usually found on luxury cars.

"Those H.I. Dizzles are an expensive option but they sure light up the road."


Hole in the roof

Noun.  Moonroof.

"Yeah, it's loaded...leather, alloys, spoiler, and a hole in the roof."



Noun.   An old ratty car.

"I'm surprised that hoopty arrived under its own power, instead of getting a tow in."



Noun.  The mass of salespeople smoking and cussin' outside the typical dealership. 

"Let's go to Planet Subaru instead of this place; I don't want to walk past that huddle."


Hit everything but the lottery

Phrase.  Describes a car with a lot of body damage.

"I can't find one panel on that car that doesn't need to be repaired.  That thing hit everything but the lottery."


In the wrapper

Phrase.  Describes a used car that looks new.

"You could wash that trade off and put it in the showroom.  It's in the wrapper."


It's got eyes

Phrase.  Describes a car that just looks good.

"With the spoiler and big rims, it's got eyes."


It's a real diamond

Phrase.  Describes a used car in exceptional condition.

"The previous owner garaged the car.  Even though it's seven years old, it's a real diamond."


Lit up like a Christmas Tree

Phrase.  When an instrument cluster has many warning lights illuminated.

"Check engine light, ABS light, airbag light, that old hoopty is lit up like a Christmas Tree. 



Noun, acronym.  (Pronounced el-oh-eff.)  Lube-Oil-Filter.  This is what most people call an oil change.

"Mr. Smith doesn't have time to repair the broken mirror today; just do the LOF."


Lot Surfing

Action.  This is the non-virtual counterpart of "surfing the web."  Describes when someone just wants to walk around the lot checking out cars without the help of a salesperson. 

"Mr. Smith has his car in for service today and he just wants to do some lot surfing while he waits."



Noun.  Tires

"That car has baloney skins on it.  It needs new meats."


Pad Slap

Verb.  Replacing brake pads without taking the important step of machining the rotors.

"The car was pad slapped at a gas station and now the brakes are pulsating."


Program Car

Noun.  Usually describes a very late-model, low-mileage car that was formerly used as a daily rental. 

"We have ten program cars in stock, all one model year old with less than 20,000 miles."



Noun.  Worn brakes that chatter through the pedal when applied. 

"The rotors need to be replaced because the car has a bad brake pulsation."



Noun or verb.  Perform a complete, meticulous interior and exterior cleaning of a car.

"It's a nice car, other than being dirty.  Let's give it a recon and then we'll decide whether it's nice enough to keep for retail or whether we need to wholesale it." 


Ring the bell

Phrase.  Describes a car that will generate many bids if sent to auction. 

"I don't want to retail a purple Dodge Viper in December so let's send it to the auction.  Those are hard to find and I'm sure it will ring the bell."



Adjective.  Usually used to describe a used car that has not been treated well.

"After three accidents and five years of tree sap, I'd say that car is pretty rough."



Noun, acronym.  (Pronounced ar-oh.) Repair Order.  This is the document that a service advisor prepares with a customer.  It instructs the technician what work needs to be performed on a car.

"Ms. Smith called to say she forgot to ask us this morning when she dropped off the car that she wants new wiper blades.  Please add that to the RO."



Noun.  One thousand miles on a car.

Synonyms:  "Clicks" and "K"

"That Caddy has 37 rounds on it."


Round of Rubber

Noun.  Four tires. 

 "The tires on that used car are original.  The car needs a round of rubber."


Ship it

Command.  Said when you're done with a car and ready to pass it on to the next employee or to the customer.

"We completed the service work so you can ship it to the body shop to repair the fender."



Noun.  Tires.

"That car needs sneakers."



Verb or noun.  When customers take delivery of their cars right at the time they decide to buy.  (Probably short for taking delivery "on the spot," right then and there.)

"Mr. Smith is going to buy the red Forester, and we need to spot it because his trade was just pronounced dead in the service department."



Noun.  Dealership.  To save a couple of syllables (?), most in the car business refer to dealerships as stores.  Synonym:  "Deal"

"He's done well over the years.  He started with an Oldsmobile deal back in the 1980's and now he has sixteen stores."



Adjective, acronym.  True Mileage Unknown.  Refers to vehicles where the odometer reading cannot be relied upon as an accurate record of the actual mileage. 

"Ms. Smith wants to trade her car but says the odometer stopped working a couple years ago.  So we'll send the car to the auction and announce that it's TMU."



Noun.  The quantity of customers visiting a showroom.

"With the snowstorm, there's not much traffic in the store today."



Noun.  A car, usually used in the plural.

"That's a busy dealership, it sells about a hundred units a month."



Noun.  An opportunity to do business with a person.  Usually used in a showroom traffic count.

"It was a busy Saturday.  We had 25 ups, and 10 of those people bought cars."


Upside Down

Adjective.  When someone owes more on a car than it's worth.

Synonyms:  "Flipped," Tipped," "Negative Equity."

"He owes over $10,000 on his car but the trade in value is only $6,000.  He's way upside down.



Verb.  When a dealer doesn't want to keep a car to retail it, it's sent to the auction or to another dealer.

"It's not nice enough to meet our reconditioning standards...let's wholesale it."


You can't get eggs out of both ends of the chicken

Phrase.  Said tongue-in-cheek to those who want an impossibly large discount on a new car and an impossibly large value for the car they are trading. 

"I can work with you on the pricing but you can't get eggs out of both ends of the chicken."

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