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Important Terms, Phrases, and a Who’s Who of Car Sales (Part 1)

Before diving in, let’s slow down to speed up. Take a few moments and review this page, because I want to make sure we’re effectively communicating as you click through to further reading.

If you missed the first Intro post, click here to go back.

This is a two-part series. Here, we review dealership departments and job functions. Part 2 includes a important glossary of car sales terms and phrases with links to take deeper dives into each one.

Dealership Departments

From an eagle’s eye view, car dealerships are split into three primary departments.

  1. Variable Operations, which includes all sales activities. Salespeople, Finance Managers, and Sales Managers are all part of Variable Ops.
  2. Fixed Operations, on the other hand, includes all Service and Parts activities and personnel.
  3. Administration, which includes functions such as Accounting, Human Resources, and Legal Counsel.

With a basic understanding of the departmental structure, let’s move on and to review a description of the roles and people you’re most likely to interact with.

Who’s Who at Your Local Car Dealership

  • Dealer Principal (DP) – Owner or part-owner.
  • General Manager (GM) – Oversees all activities and personnel in both the Variable and Fixed departments. In smaller stores, the DP may also function as the GM.
  • General Sales Manager (GSM) – Oversees all Variable Operations activities and personnel.
  • Sales Manager (SM) – Oversees and assists Sales Team with their deals and day-to-day activities.
  • Finance & Insurance (F&I) Director – Oversees all F&I activities and personnel.
  • F&I Manager – Oversees all Finance, Insurance, and Product activities for their assigned deals.
  • Salesperson (SP) / Product Specialist – Demonstrates vehicles and serves as the primary point of contact for sales customers.
  • Business Development Center (BDC) / Internet Manager – Oversees marketing, customer care, appointment-setting, lead-generation, and call center activities and personnel.
  • BDC Agent – Serves a joint role of customer care and appointment-setting.
  • Service & Parts Director – Oversees all Fixed Operations activities and personnel.
  • Service Manager – Oversees all Service Department activities and personnel.
  • Service Advisor – Assists customers with the servicing of their vehicles.
  • Technician / Mechanic – Performs maintenance and repairs on customer and dealership vehicles.
  • Parts Manager – Oversees all Parts Department activities and personnel.
  • Parts Associate – Assists customers with purchasing parts and merchandise.

Now that we’ve covered some dealership fundamentals, let’s move on to common car sales terms and phrases in Part 2. Click the Next button to continue.