Confessions of a Car Man


The Chevy Volt: When They Build It, Will They Come?

So who in the hell is going to buy the Chevy Volt? The Volt is a new electric passenger car that will be introduced by GM in the 2010 model year. In recent years GM has been a day late and a dollar short when it comes to alternative transportation. They introduced a hybrid truck a few years ago, which promptly tanked, as has the hybrid Chevy Tahoe currently gathering dust at your local dealer.

But this time they have made a wise choice because I’m sure there were suits in upper management that would have preferred an electric Hummer. This time they forced themselves to put the appropriate power train in an appropriate platform thereby avoiding another shot in the foot. But I can’t help but think that in introducing a totally green car to the market GM still has a hard way to go. I’ll tell you why.

Whether it be electric, hybrid, or pedal powered, alternative cars are largely purchased by propeller heads, i.e. liberals. In this respect I applaud my idle-brained brethren. At lest they put their funds (liberals never use the word money) where their mouths are. Make any kind of product that they perceive will save the earth from evil white males and they’ll buy it.

The problem is, will these people purchase an electric car made by GM? Case in point: If you drive through any of the liberal bastions of our nations, primarily college towns, you will see very few American made cars. Oh, you might see an occasional SUV or truck but an American car? Are you kidding me? All liberals have an innate hatred for American Cars. Do you think they’ll break down and buy one now just because it’s electric?

Liberals hate for American cars (and most other large American companies for that matter) for two reasons:

Reason 1: Sticking it to the man. In the 60’s my generation was instilled with the spirit of rebellion. The Vietnam War, the so-called Military Industrial Complex, dope, were all reasons to rebel against our parents and society in general. Most of us grew up, but a hard core of us, the propeller heads, never did. They never support American businesses.

Reason 2: This one is partially justified. Back in the 60’s and 70’s American made automobiles were--how should I word this--junk. People flocked to the Japanese manufacturers in search of a car that wasn't in the shop every other week. But buying a foreign car became more than that. It became an integral part of the official liberal uniform; an attitude persists today even though it is no longer fully justified. Bottom line: buy a Buick and they throw you out of the club.

I’m not sure if a liberal could physically purchase a Volt even if they want to. I suspect that many would go to convulsions just opening the door to a Chevy showroom!

The flip side of this question is, will Chevy buyers buy a Volt? Chevy buyers are a weird bunch. First they don’t purchase a lot of cars. Gas prices permitting they buy trucks and SUV’s. Many recent Chevy models like the new Impala and Malibu have by and large bypassed Chevy showrooms, and gone straight to the rental car agencies just like a lousy movie bypasses the theaters and goes directly to DVD. (Think any movie with Wesley Snipes in it.)

Of course Chevy buyers will buy a Chevy car, but it’s easier to sell them one if the car is currently on the NASCAR circuit. If you want to sell a shit-load of Volts, put a large number 3 in the back and start racing them.

General Motors is going to have their hands full with the Chevy Volt. As a former Chevy salesman I, for one, am rooting for them. Its time for them, along with Ford and Chrysler, to start getting their act together.

Whatever that means.

Talk to you later,


Closing Time

It’s Sunday afternoon on the car lot. It’s about a quarter to five. You close at five. You’re itching to get out of there. Then it happens. A goof ball, buried in his beat up Mitsubishi Eclipse, pulls into the lot to spend an hour of quality time with you.


What is it about car dealerships at closing time? It can be slow all day, or perhaps you were busy and just want to get your ass out of there, and here they come, an army of flakes, determined to ruin your evening. Now sometimes you can get lucky and find a buyer among the pack, but for the most part these are the people who got thrown out of all the other dealerships up and down Auto Row and have landed at your place for a last shot at getting new wheels. (Keep in mind that the flake you threw out two hours ago is pulling into another lot right now!)

Back at the primeval dawn of my automotive career, I worked at Hayward Ford in Hayward, California. Hayward Ford was located across the street from a steep hill that ran up to the state college. We closed at 9:00. I used to imagine that at about 8:30 ups would gather on the hill with binoculars and walkie-talkies waiting for signs that we were locking up the cars. As soon as the spotted a key board they would give the okay sign and invade the lot asking stupid questions and demanding demo rides in cars they had no intention to buy.

My brother, Danny, who was a young, aggressive sales manager didn’t make it any easier. He believed that closing time was when the last dog died. I used to joke that if it dawned on him that after the bars closed at 1:00 AM there might be a couple of drunks on the lot, he’d make sure we were there to wait on them!

What can a Car Man do to protect himself? Murder is one option, I suppose, but not very practical unless you’re really good at it. You can always hide in your office or the bathroom and hope someone else takes the up, but if the other guy sells the goof a car you’re going to feel like an asshole. So what do you do?

First understand that the two main reasons for a customer being tossed out of a dealership is because they’re really buried in their trade or they’re so flaky they would need a co-signer to pay cash. The vast majority of closing time ups fall into these two categories so when the guy in the Eclipse pulls up to your showroom door find quickly find out witch one applies to him.

If all else fails, a quick way to determine if you have a buyer is to simply ask him if he wants to buy the car. Strokers hate this question because it exposes their plan to jack you around for their fun and amusement. But you have to be careful how you ask the question because if you sound too aggressive you risk losing a real buyer. I suggest after a brief presentation of the car you give them your best friendly smile and say, “So, you want to buy this beauty tonight?”

I think we can all agree that it would be a better world for all if the police would simply arrest anyone pulling on to a car lot at closing time. If I were emperor of this country there would be capital punishment for anyone stroking a Car Man.

Hey. Am I being a little too harsh?

Talk to you later,


The Smart Car

I saw one of those new Smart cars going down the freeway the other day. The Smart car is a little, and I do mean little, two-seater coupe about the size of a golf cart. Looks dangerous as hell which brings me to my point. The guy driving it was going about 75 MPH in the fast lane!

What the hell was that all about? I would assume that anyone who buys one of those little pieces of shit have to be what Car Men call a “propeller head”. Imagine a Smart car and you can almost see the Obama sticker and something about global warming on the back bumper. So why are you driving 75 sucker? You late for your save the polar bear meeting?

It was going so fast I didn’t have time to verify whether or not it had any bumper stickers, but driving at that speed seemed counter-intuitive to the purpose of the car. You get what I mean by that, don’t you? Oh. You don’t? Okay, I’ll explain.

Since I would assume that most of you have never seen a Smart car on the road, I will make a comparison to a car you all have seen, a Toyota Prius. Now, faithful readers to this blog already know what I think about Prius’ and the people who drive them so I won’t belabor the point. It’s just that people who buy Prius’ drive like every mile means saving the earth from calamity.

Prius drivers seem timid to drive the speed limit much less over it, and though I have occasionally seen Prius’ being driven “normally” it’s the exception not the rule. Believe it or not I don’t have a problem with that. In their own mush-minded way Prius owners walk the walk and talk the talk. As Jimmie Hendrix once said their waving their freak flag high.

But that didn’t explain the goof ball driving the Smart. I mean this car makes the Prius look like a stretch limo and gives off the strong impression that if it had an encounter with anything larger than a Ford Focus death would result. So what the hell was going on?

A few days latter it came to me. That wasn’t a Democrat driving that car. No way! It must have been a freaking Car Man behind the wheel! Car Men traditionally drive like crap, especially if it’s not their car. Back in the days of demonstrators it was assumed that the car would be driven hard and put away wet!

My theory is that some car salesman was just acting like any other car salesman who is given the keys to a new car with gas in it. He was seeing what the little turd could do! That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. To think otherwise gives me an unpleasant feeling. I mean if you can’t trust propeller heads to drive safely who can you trust?

Talk to you later,


The Chameleon

I want to tell you a story about an F&I (Finance & Insurance) man I worked with years ago. Rich Morgan was (and I suppose still is) a very talented guy. He had the right combination of verbal skills, sales ability and craziness that are the hallmark of any good Car Man. And on top of that he had a very original personality; one of those types of people who once you know him you can never forget him. And one more thing: Rich Morgan was a human chameleon.

Rich Morgan’s behavior could be a little bizarre. He could be in a “don’t even think about talking to me” mode, and then suddenly be your best friend. If Rich was in a talkative mood and fixed his interest on you, you were in for quite a show, because Rich had the singular ability to make you feel as if you were the most important person in the world.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the years. Rich was not a phony. If he decided to turn his chameleon-like attention to you his interest was genuine. It was just so weird! He would clasp his hands together as if he were eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving dinner, tilt his head slightly, a grin spread on his face and give you an almost adoring look.

When Rich was in this mode he made you feel as if you were a celebrity, and he was interviewing you for some posh magazine. He would hang on your every word, acting as if each one were a pearl of wisdom. His questions would be thoughtful and insightful, designed to bring out the best in you. But I’ve got to admit that when the conversation was over I always felt as if my pocket had just been picked.

But that isn’t the weird part.

I can only imagine what it would be like to be a customer sitting across from Rich Morgan as he turned into a chameleon. Sometimes he would keep the door to his office open, so if you walked by the doorway you could see Rich during his transformation. It was not unusual to hear gales of laughter as Rich worked his humor and charm on the customer. For in the few minutes a customer was in F&I, Rich became a part of their lives and their best friend. A good word to describe it is “simpatico”. He becomes you.

I will tell you how absorbed Rich Morgan would become when with a customer. If you were a Mexican, a Spanish accent would creep into Rich’s rich voice! If you were Asian, his words would become clipped like the dialogue in a Charlie Chan movie. Irish? Irish accent. English? English accent. Whatever you were, Rich would become you. I tell you it was surreal!

I'm not even going to get into what would happen when an African-American entered his office. I have heard him say in a loud, accented voice, "Now that's what I'm talkin' about!" But I have to proof that he ever attempted a soul handshake.

You never knew what was going to happen when a customer emerged from F & I. Many times they looked stunned. Rich was so weird sometimes they didn’t know exactly how to react to him, but believe it or not they usually came out of his office with an extended warranty GAP insurance, and a Due Bill for snake oil*!

When questioned about his behavior Rich seemed not to understand what you were talking about. Speaking in accents wasn’t something he planned. It was not an attempt to be racist or a smart ass. It was just him. For in that moment of time, if you were Chinese, Rich was Chinese. And his interest in you, your family, and your new car were real. Unless you didn’t buy anything at which point you were an asshole!

To this day I have always felt the deepest of respect for Rich Morgan. He was the car business’s equivalent to an eccentric brain surgeon—more than a little weird but oh, what a talent! If the term Car Man was in the dictionary there could very well be a picture of Rich next to the definition!

One last thing: It is my eternal hope that if space aliens ever visit this planet, the first person they will meet is Rich. He’ll charm the pants off of them—and sell them a 5 year/100,000 service contract.

Talk to you later,


*The Others take note: snake oil is slang for things like underseal and paint coatings.

Crusin' The Net

I was cruising the net today. I googled car salesman blogs. I’ve always wondered if anyone out there writes a blog like mine. I sometimes run into sites that cull car-related topics off the net and present them in a humorous fashion, but I can’t find anyone who writes an all-original, balls-out pro car salesman blog like mine. In that respect, I am the only one. Nnumero uno. I’m like Superman sitting on top of the Empire State Building, hands on my hips, my cape flapping in the breeze.

David Teves: Defender of the Car Man.

What I did find on Google are sites whose primary purpose appears to be to unravel our “secrets” and thwart our right to make a living. “What really goes on when the salesman goes to the sales managers office?” one blog asks, as if it were Voodoo.

In their minds when we complete the write-up and leave to present their ridiculous offer to the desk, we are going to a dark place inhabited by Satin himself. There, in the formerly polluted fire and brimstone office now fresh and clean since anti-smoking laws went into effect, the red-face, horned sales manager and the salesmen conjure up a scheme to deprive the customer of their children’s inheritance. It’s a nice thing to think about gross-wise, but it can’t be realistically put into action.

The Others give us much more credit than we deserve. Selling a car is not brain surgery. The deskmen are not Harvard MBA’s trained in the black arts of screwing people. Most deals entail the desk man just trying to figure out a way to sell a car to a guy who’s a flake and is ten grand upside down in his ’04 Suburban trade and still make a little money for the house.

Sure we will take a pass at making some money. After all, we are car salesman. It’s in our genes. But if the attempt fails, Plan B is to just make a deal, and in this market that means any deal we can.

So why is all this Internet energy aimed at us, when furniture salesmen, window salesmen, and real estate assholes (strike that, I meant to say professionals) get a free ride? I sure as hell wish I knew.

So I have a dilemma. Since I’m the only one defending us, the lone voice in the desert so to speak, what am I to do? Does it mean I can never stop writing this blog? To do so would be to give into the Dark Side. But the question is how long can I continue to do this shit? I’m a decent writer, but let’s face it; I’m not that good! And who will take my place when I’m gone?

I have a site meter that tells me who’s logging on to the blog. So be forewarned. Don’t tell me, “Gee, David, I’m really enjoying the blog,” when you know and I know you haven’t logged on in the last three months. If you’ve overdosed on it, I understand. I get overdosed on occasion. I start to think that I’ve got a serious mental disorder, a compulsive condition that causes me to write and write and write—about bullshit.

It’s also interesting to discover how people find the blog. There are apparently a lot of people out there who hate Corvettes (and rightly so). When they google “hate corvette” they stumble upon me. I wrote an entry called “The Popeye Syndrome”. Don’t ask me what it was about because I don’t remember, but apparently there is a real medical condition by the same name. Think of it. Some poor suffering fool is trying to find information to help a loved one and they stumble upon me!

Apparently there is something on the net about a person getting buried in a car. I mean really buried in a car. Like in a grave. Dead. But when the unfortunate goof out there googles being buried, they get my entry about people being upside down in their trades.

Life can be difficult if your one of The Others. And don’t we all enjoy that!

Talk to later,