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June 06, 2011

Car Business Language & Lingo-Part IV

Sales1-150x150 So you’re looking for a new or used vehicle, and you have a vehicle that your trading in. The problem is, you know that you’re “Upside Down” in your trade. You are well aware that you have negative equity of say $5,000 (at least that’s what you think it is), but no problem…You’re gonna trade anyway.

When it comes to having negative equity and or being “Upside Down” there seems to be several other terms in a car dealership that salespeople use to describe your problem. In fact, having negative equity and the related car business language and lingo that go along with it probably wins the prize in terms of different phrases for negative equity which leads up into the next term which is…

  • “Hammered”—In terms of severity, which sounds worse… being “Upside Down” or being “Hammered?” I think most would agree that being “Hammered” is more severe than being “Upside Down.” One would think that maybe being “Upside Down” might be easier to over come. After all, it’s only being “Upside Down.” Just turn it right side up. But being “Hammered” is like being nailed to the cross. You’re not getting out alive. If you were the fly on the wall in a car dealership, you might hear the following conversation between salespeople…

“Hey Scott, I saw you workin that “Up.” I figured that since you didn’t put the deal together they must have been a little “Upside Down.”

“No, those people weren’t just a little “Upside Down” my friend…They were completely “Hammered” in their trade. They owed $18,000 and the piece of s*** was only worth $10,000.”

The next term could have been used in that last sentence, because sometimes salespeople will use several different terms to describe just how far “Upside Down” or “Hammered” the customer is which leads us to the next terms which is…

  • “Hooked”—Now being “Hooked” really doesn’t sound too bad in terms of having negative equity. But the reality is, it’s worse than being “Upside Down” or being “Hammered.” Personally I’d rather be “Hooked” than “Hammered” but either way, you’re stuck with you trade. The only way to make a trade is to come up with a sizable down payment. In the verbal exchange above, I could have added this to the last sentence:

“They owed $18,000 and the piece of s*** was only worth $10,000. They were just too “Hooked” to do anything.”

As you can see, with the negative equity terms you can keep em coming which brings us to the next term which is…

  • “Clobbered”—Now being “Clobbered” is bad news; it even sounds bad and it is. If there was any chance of putting a deal together with your negative equity, you’d have to be either “Upside Down, Hammered, or Hooked” to have any chance of trading.

But if you’re “Clobbered” it’s lights out and game over…Do not pass Go and do not collect $200.00. “Clobbered” means you’re at least $10,000 “Upside Down” and without any money down it’s time to move on. And speaking of moving on, here’s the next term…

  • “Buried”—Believe it or not, there is something worse than being “Clobbered.” If you’re buried it’s a foregone conclusion on what that means. Your name is in the obituary column, and you’re six feet under with your vehicle being your headstone. Being “Buried” means you’re over $15,000 “Upside Down.” Being “Buried” is by far the worst of the worst. Unless you’re Jesus, you ain’t comin back to life to trade your vehicle.

Now you might be thinking, “What if someone is over $15,000 “Upside Down?” Well at that point, you’d have to use a combination of terms. Let’s say that you’re $25,000 “Upside Down.” The conversation in the showroom would sound something like this…

“Scott, that last “Up” I had was a joke. They were “Clobbered” big time. They said that they’d come back in a year, but they’ll sill be “Buried.”

I know I said that I was going to finish this up with one more article, but I’m trying not to get too wordy with one particular segment. I don’t want to bore the plethora of readers on this site, and I know long wordy articles would make me lose readers. I promise, I’ll finish it up with the next one…


Scotts-headshot-cityBy Scott Klein
"Your Go To Guy For Candid Car Dealership Information" 
Born and raised in Flint Michigan, I've been around cars my whole life. Since 1983 when I started buying and selling cars at the Flint Auto Auction to the present of being a Sales Trainer for a dealer group in Atlanta Ga, my car dealership experiences run long and deep. In 1986 when I started selling cars to managing all departments in a retail dealership environment, I have the know how to help you navigate the treacherous waters of each step in a car dealership.


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