Special Series: True Stories From a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer

Car Pro Show host Jerry Reynolds has more stories than you can count about his decades on the retail side of the car biz before leaving it all behind to become a full-time advocate for car buyers on the Car Pro Show.  He shares exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at his life as a former car dealer in this special series: True Stories from a Former Car Dealer.

True Stories Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #37: Selling Out

Some of these True Stories have been difficult to write and frankly bring back many good and bad memories.  Although this story has a happy ending, it also brings some pain…the pain of making a very difficult decision. The Early Days I’ve never been a quitter, it is not in my DNA.  I walked away from my first job in […]

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True Stories From a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #36: Old Glory

As the Car Pro Show is a direct extension of me, my personality, and my heart and passions, I always felt like my dealerships should be an extension of me as well.  If they weren’t, they would be just another dealership with glass and brick and lots of shiny cars.  That just didn’t seem right to me. I always considered […]

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True Stories from a Former Car Dealer Coupon Books and the Texas Attorney General

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #35: Texas A.G.

Don’t look for the typical funny ending here, there is not one.  This True Story is hard to write and I have resisted doing so because frankly, it was one of my darkest times.  In the car business, you have triumphs and I had more than my share of them, but you have things happen that sometimes takes you to […]

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True Stories Spiffs or Bonuses

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #34: Spiffs

Spiff may not be a word most people know unless they’ve been in the car business.  This term was around before I got into the business.  Typically spiff was used in conjunction with up, as in spiffing up something, but in the car biz, it was a term for bonuses paid in cash. Salespeople loved cash bonuses, money that they […]

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1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #33: Before Demos

In segment #32, I told you all about the many demonstrators I had through the years, which prompted inquiries about what I drove before that. My parents were not wealthy people by any stretch, but about six months before my 16th birthday, my Dad ran across a car he thought would make a great first car.  I had no idea […]

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True Stories Demo Cars

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #32: Demos

One of the big reasons many people got into the car business when I did, was demonstrators, or in short, demos.  There was a time when all dealerships gave their salespeople company cars.  The idea was for the salespeople to show off those cars wherever they went.  It was a huge perk. Slowly over time, dealerships stopped allowing salespeople company […]

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True Stories From a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #31: Parties

For whatever reason, people in the car business seem to love to have parties.  Most people in a dealership have high-stress jobs and, frankly, they love to let their hair down in a non-dealership environment.  Good dealerships generally reward their employees with fun parties, especially around Christmas.  When I was a dealership owner, I tended to take things to the […]

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Ford Direct

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #30: Ford Direct

So, we got beyond the Auto Collection (True Story #27) and dealership relations with Ford were not good.  Besides the issues the dealers were facing with their manufacturer, there was also this new thing called the Internet, and dealers were not sure what to do with it.  Some embraced it like I did, I had a website in 1995 as […]

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Ford Blue Oval

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #29: Blue Oval

I will never forget it.  It was in early 2000 I am pretty sure.  I got a call from a high-ranking Ford executive one day with an ominous message.  I was in Las Vegas for a dealer meeting as the Ford National Dealer Council Chairman.  The exec who called was a man I trusted, and he was well liked by […]

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True Stories Sports Dallas Cowboys

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #28: Sports

In my years in the car business, I had many occasions to meet and be involved with sports teams, owners of sports teams, and players.  For whatever reason, car dealers and sports teams just seem to go together. Not long after I bought my Ford dealership, I had a visit from the head coach of SMU.  He was an engaging […]

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True Stories Ford Auto Collections

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #27: Auto Collections

I had purchased my Ford dealership in 1996, and the trouble started in 1997.  I am talking about Ford Motor Company’s plan to buy all the dealerships in large markets and run them instead of having dealer-operators do it.  Never mind that the franchise system had worked extremely well for almost 100 years at that time.  You see, dealers have […]

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True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #26: Radio

Most car dealers spend the bulk of their advertising dollars in one medium but reinforce their message on others.  For instance, some dealers spend a lot of money on TV and supplement their message on radio, newspaper, direct mail, or digital messages.  Some pick the same media outlets in a different order. In my younger days, digital was not around […]

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Car Auctions

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #25: Auctions

The first dealership I owned was a Buick dealership in Irving, TX.  It all happened very quickly, but that is a different True Story.  I was 29-years old, and Jerry Reynolds Buick was going to be a challenge.  GM had downsized the Buick lineup and had gone to front-wheel drive platforms, something widely rejected by the older base of Buick […]

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True Stories From a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #24: Dick

People in the car sales business today, unless they were lucky enough to have parents who owned a dealership, were trained.  Some dealerships do the training themselves, some hire firms that do this as a business, and some hire individuals who travel around holding training classes. When I got into the business in the mid-seventies, I was promoted to being […]

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True Stories Police

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #23: The Po-Lice

Early in my career running dealerships, the first one I worked at was in a somewhat rough part of town in Dallas.  There were only two dealerships on the street where the dealership was located: the Ford store I worked at and a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership next door that eventually closed. We had more than our fair share of thefts, so […]

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True Story Golf

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #22: Golf

To say I hate playing golf is a bit of an understatement.  To say I suck at it is also an understatement.  In spite of many lessons by some really good golf pros, I never got the hang of hitting the ball off a tee. I am actually a pretty good putter, but generally, I have hit the ball 7 […]

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Ordering Cars

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #21: Ordering Cars

In the car business, inventory management is one of the hardest tasks at a dealership.  You may or may not be aware that all those bright, shiny cars you see at dealerships are financed.  When a dealer orders a car from the factory, as soon as it rolls off the assembly line, the cost of the car is added to […]

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True Stories Former Car Dealer Shaguar

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #20: The Shaguar

I have always had a fascination with unusual cars.  When you have been in the car business a long time, you get opportunities to see unique vehicles.  Over the years, I traded for some tricked out and rare Mustangs, Cobras, and Thunderbirds.  I typically kept something cool at home to drive on the weekends. One of my favorites was a […]

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True Stories From a Former Car Dealer: Lifts

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #19: Lifts

Hydraulic lifts are a critical part of any dealership’s service department.  How to properly put a vehicle on a lift is one of the most critical things a technician can learn.  To be perfectly honest, I was always afraid of them.  When I had a customer with a concern, I would often get under a car six feet off the […]

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Cars That Are Lemons

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #18: Lemons

No dealership wants to sell a lemon, but at the time of sale, you have no idea how well a car is going to perform down the road.  No automaker is immune to building bad vehicles.  It happens with the cheapest vehicle sold and many that will set you back six figures. I’ve talked many people out of purchasing Ford […]

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True Stories from a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #17: The Sign

This story comes from the same time and same dealership I wrote about in segment #16, the EXP.  As a reminder, the Ford dealership was on a major freeway, but the property was very narrow and hard to see.  We could maybe put 25 cars across the front for viewing purposes, which is not a lot by most standards in […]

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Ford EXP

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #16: The EXP

The year is sometime around 1983, and I was the General Manager of a Ford dealership in Dallas.  The dealership sat on a very expensive piece of property that is today a high-rise office building.  It was a strange setup for a dealership, the lot was very narrow, but very deep. I almost didn’t take the job in 1980.  The […]

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Car Ignition Switches

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #15: Ignition Switches

The year was 2001, and I had agreed to be the first Ford dealer to ever serve back-to-back terms as the Chairman of the Ford Dealers Council.  It was a stretch of my time for sure, but the Council had a lot of momentum, and that could be lost in a transition of leadership.  By me continuing, we could resume […]

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True Stories From a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #14: I Quit

I was a junior in High School in the mid-1970s, working after school and all day on Saturday.  I started my career in the prep department, also known as the “make ready” or “get ready” department.  Back then, vehicles came in somewhat incomplete. The pickups were delivered to the dealership with the hubcaps and exterior mirrors boxed in the front […]

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True Stories Psychic Helps Find Money

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #13: The Psychic

Early in my career, sometime around 1977, I became a sales manager at the dealership I started at in Dallas.  I was young for the job, but had worked extremely hard, and made a lot of friends.  Upper management seemed to really trust me. When I knew they really trusted me was when they gave me a set of keys to the […]

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True Stories Hawaii

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #12: Hawaii

It was mid-November, 1982 and I had just quit my job at the only place I had ever worked, a Ford dealership in Dallas.  I started washing cars there 10 years earlier and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the General Sales Manager at the age of 22. The Owner of the dealership obtained it from his father, who was […]

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9.11.01 True Stories from a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #11: 9.11.01

Depending on your age, there are some events in life you remember exactly what you were doing when they occurred.  For me, it was when John Kennedy was shot, the first space shuttle that exploded, and September 11, 2001. I was the Ford National Dealer Council Chairman that year, and on that fateful Tuesday morning, I was scheduled to meet […]

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True Stories from Former Car Dealer Ice Cream

True Stories from a Former Car Dealer #10: Ice Cream

In a dealership’s service department, one of the most frustrating situations for a customer and the dealership are intermittent problems.  Typically the customer starts out with the word “sometimes.”  Those are dreaded words for the service advisor because you immediately know the issue is not constant, making it difficult to diagnose and repair. Not sure if it’s Murphy’s Law or […]

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1997 Ford Explorer Firestone Tires

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #9: Firestone

The Ford Explorer came out in 1990 as a 1991 model and was an instant hit. We could not keep them in stock and could not get nearly as many as we could sell.  Sales were incredible the first dozen years or so of production, most years Explorer sales were roughly 400,000 vehicles. Starting in about 1997, most Ford Explorers […]

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True Stories From a Former Car Dealer

True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #8: The AFA

It started one day in late spring of 2005 as I recall, to be more specific, I believe it was the month of May.  I was a couple of years past my term as the Ford National Dealer Council Chairman and had settled back in to my real job, owning and operating dealerships. It started like any other day, around […]

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