Car salesmen are cooler than perceived.

Back when I was selling Plymouths, I got into a Sundance Turbo, and
the customer pulls on leather driving gloves. I said, “Is there
something I should know?” He gave me a wink, like it was obvious. I
said, “Should I be wearing flameproof underwear?”
—Darin Ballenger, Lincoln/Mercury/Volvo, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I’m with a guy who’s about 20—my first mistake—who’s testing our
only Dodge Viper. We haven’t left the lot yet. He pulls in front of the
showroom and does a 15-foot burnout. Maybe 20. I couldn’t tell for
sure, ’cause the smoke enveloped the building. After we got back, I put
my arm around him real tight and walked him right into the general
manager’s office. “Why are we goin’ in here?” he asked. I said,
“Because if I get fired, I want you nearby so I can break your nose.”
—Chrysler salesman, name withheld by request

I was with a mother and daughter testing a Honda Prelude. The mother
drove first, then they switched seats, while I’m all bent like a
pretzel in the back. And that’s when the mother says, “Now, honey, the
pedal on the left is called the clutch.” I about jumped into the front
seat. I’m yelling, “Whoa, whoa, whoa—test drive over!”
—Glenn Gottfried, Toyota/Subaru, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I once had a Mario Andretti in a Camaro, so I said, “Hey, pull into
that station, we need gas.” And when he did, I lunged for the keys.
Then I gave him my standard menu of choices. “Option one,” I said, “you
can ride back to the dealership with me driving. Option two, you can walk home. Option three, maybe there’s a city bus that stops near here.”
—Eric Gilliam, Chevrolet/Cadillac/Saab/Hummer, Ann Arbor, Michigan

In the middle of a test, I had a guy turn hard into a strip mall,
then right up to the door of a liquor store. “I gotta get something
real fast,” he says to me, “do you mind?” I said, “You don’t need a
Ford, you need Betty Ford.”
—Mark Davis, Ford, Kansas City, Missouri

Guy pulls out of the lot, crosses four lanes, smacks the curb on the
opposite side of the highway. Bends the left-front tire under the
car—it’s like dragging along, grinding. He says, “Wow, you think I
should stop, or should we just complete the test drive?”
—Volkswagen salesman, name withheld by request

I was with a guy testing a Trans Am WS6, squealing the tires from
every light, howling the tires on turns, big lurid fishtails. Everybody
was looking at us. I said, “Hey, why don’t you pull over to the curb? I
want to show you something.” And when he did, I grabbed the keys. He
said, “What are you doing, man? I know how to drive.” I said, “Great. Do you also know how to walk?”
—Joe Gilmour, BMW, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I had a customer who shows up to test a Corvette. But it’s February,
we’re in the midst of a snowstorm that dumped five inches, so bad that
half our employees haven’t shown up. Plus, there’s fog. I said to him,
“You know, with 350 horsepower in that car, maybe we should wait till
the weather clears.” He says to me, “How come?” I said, “Oh, I dunno, I
just have this funny thing about closed-head injuries.”
—Chevrolet salesman, name withheld by request

A woman walks into the showroom, and all she’s wearing is a bikini.
She points to the first car she sees, a Carrera, and says, “I want that
car.” We were like, “Yeah, whatever, lady.” Then she walked out to a
ratty Mustang and got her license and checkbook. She comes back and
buys the car in five minutes. We gave her a free Porsche T-shirt, you
know, so she had something more substantial to wear. I wanted to say to
her, “Hey, if you buy another car, I’ll throw in a pair of pants.”
—Don Skuta, Porsche/Audi, Pompano Beach, Florida

I had a customer test-drive a Taurus SHO. He simply got in the car
and accelerated from a dead stop to 120 miles an hour, then slammed on
the brakes while simultaneously changing lanes—all of this without
warning. He said, “See, I need to check the handling.” I said, “See, I
need to have you arrested.”
—John McLellan, Ford, Ann Arbor, Michigan


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