Car donation

Behind the scenes at a car dealership

If you’ve ever bought a car at a car dealer then you know that there’s a certain method to the sales process. Sometimes this process is difficult to understand but there is reason why the process is a convoluted with numerous people involved. To research this, we spoke with Mr. Ed Financing ( a car loan company located in Phoenix, Arizona. As a loan company, they are an integral part of the car sales process at dozens of Arizona dealer locations. Here’s what we learned.

Division of Labor

The first thing to know is that a car dealership is a very complex operation. Almost every week things change: different sales promotions, different financing plans, the car dealer’s own promotions, and multitude of other things. The bottom line is that it is impossible for any one person to stay on top of all this stuff, so dealerships have different departments involved.

Your Salesperson is Not the Sales Manager

Although your salesperson and the sales manager work closely together, their jobs are quite different. The salesperson’s job is to get to know you and help you find a vehicle that meets your needs. The sales manager’s job is to stay on top of all the rapidly changing specials and promotions. In addition, they oversee all the sales staff and make sure that each deal executed is structured properly and frankly makes sense for both the customer and the dealership.

A Good Example of This Relationship

Here’s an example of just one factor sales managers deal with daily: credit ratings. If a client has picked out a car they want but has a poor credit, the sales manager needs to do some number crunching. A client’s credit rating also makes a difference on how much cash you have to pay as a down payment. For example, excellent credit customers are typically given lower interest rates than poor credit customers. It’s just one of the many factors involved in a car deal.


The other thing your salespeople are working on is the value of your trade. All dealers go to the same auctions and use the same “books” when evaluating trades. When a dealership offers you a substantial sum for your trade-in, they may be making it up on the “deal” they make you. This isn’t any tomfoolery, its just making the numbers work for you and the dealership.


In this article, we tried to give you a feeling for the complexities that go on behind the scene when you buy a car.  It’s a complex process with a salesperson, sales manager and loan specialist working together. It’s a procedure that is practiced at virtually every dealership and for a good reason.