Spring on the Road

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Learning car dealership terminology can make buying a car less intimidating

Many industries have their own lexicon, and the automotive industry is no exception. Prospective car buyers may visit a dealership and hear an array of unfamiliar terminology.

Familiarizing yourself with such lingo can make it easier to leave a dealership feeling like you got the best deal possible. Such familiarity also makes it easier to understand your surroundings and what's going on as you work to get the car you want for the price you want.

The following are a handful of terms you might hear at the dealership when you decide to upgrade to a new vehicle.

Babysitter: Co-signer or co-buyer on a contract, or term used when the primary buyer needs help to make a decision or buy.

Be back: Prospective buyer who promises to return after researching other vehicles or deals.

Bumping: Raising the customer's offer for a car.

Buy rate: The interest rate that banks or financing institutions will charge on all contracts being financed. It is a "secret" number between the lender and the dealer that is the real amount of the interest rate that the loan starts out at before the dealer increases it for its own extra profit.

Candy store: A dealership with a lot of inventory to check out.

Chisler: A buyer who works the salesman down to the best possible deal on the vehicle.

Closer: Salesperson whose job it is to "close" the deal with customers who are hesitating.

Demo: A test-drive of the car.

F and I: Refers to the sales department that arranges for financing with a lender. It stands for finance and insurance.

First pencil: An opening offer from the sales manager.

Flake: Refers to a customer with bad credit. This customer may be referred to as a "roach" as well.

Four-square: A worksheet divided into four squares to represent the four elements of a car deal: selling price, trade-in value, monthly payment and down payment.

Gold balls: A customer who has excellent credit and usually an impressive down payment.

Green pea: A novice salesperson.

High penny: To increase a customer's monthly payment without exceeding the next dollar amount.

Lay down: A customer who says yes to everything.

Sled: A trade-in that is worth little or nothing.

Tower: The floor manager's office or central location.

Up: A customer who walks onto the car lot or into the dealership.