Car dealers use TikTok to reveal industry secrets and the clever ways sellers get you to spend more on cars
Auto sellers are using TikTok to share industry secrets and tips for buyers.
The videos discuss hidden fees and explain how some dealers might use scarcity tactics to sell cars.
Sellers also offer tips, like looking up reviews for specific car salespeople.
Auto dealers are increasingly using TikTok to preview cars for sale and reveal industry secrets, like how salespeople might use hidden fees and other strategies to pressure buyers into spending more money.
The videos are helping dealers find new customers and in turn, sell more cars, according to six dealers who spoke to Insider about using TikTok.
Among all social platforms, "TikTok has actually produced more sales, more calls, more immediate business than any of the others," said Jesse Cannon-Wallace, a salesperson at Mercedes Benz Atlanta Northeast in Duluth, Georgia, who has 121,100 TikTok followers.
Here's what Cannon-Wallace and others are sharing on TikTok to try and demystify the car-buying process.
Sellers share the strategies and hidden fees some dealers use to pressure buyers
Tito Suave, a salesperson at Gettel Nissan in Sarasota, Florida with 548,300 TikTok followers, has posted videos sharing language some dealers use to try to pressure you into buying a car.
For example, dealers might use scarcity tactics and say they have a number of other appointments lined up for the vehicle you're interested in, or say they don't expect a car to stay on their lot long.
Suave has also posted videos about extra fees that might show up in the car-buying process. Dealers may try to upsell customers on unnecessary warranties, particularly those buyers who are less knowledgeable about the car-buying process, like teens, he said.
Suave says in his videos that it's important to read the fine print in contracts and ask questions when things may seem intentionally confusing.
Car sellers say buyers should look up reviews on salespeople
Several sellers have posted videos saying some salespeople don't treat customers fairly.
For example, customers with lower credit scores could be treated less seriously or with less respect than those with high credit scores, Suave says in his TikTok videos.
"I'll touch on good credit scores, I'll touch on bad credit scores," Suave told Insider, describing the topics he covers in his videos. "I'll touch on companies like Credit Karma versus using Experian to check your credit score; which cars are reliable, which cars aren't; different ways salesmen can take advantage of you."
Some dealers could try to persuade customers with lower credit scores into buying a vehicle they aren't interested in — like a used car that they want to get off their lot, he said.
Customers also post to TikTok about their experiences at dealerships, and auto sellers sometimes respond. In one popular video, a woman said a dealer asked her if she wanted to call her husband when she said she intended to buy a car.
To avoid situations like that, Cannon-Wallace encourages her TikTok followers to look up reviews for salespeople on Google or the dealer ratings website DealerRater.
Sellers use TikTok to share tips about inventory and find potential buyers
Russ Richardson, a salesperson at Biondi Lincoln in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, focuses on car-buying tips and tricks on his TikTok account, which has nearly 40,000 followers.
He has posted about how dealership inventory won't go back to their pre-pandemic "normal" because automakers are prioritizing profits over gaining market share.
He also explains in his videos why customers shouldn't wait to buy a car, even in the midst of high interest rates, and gives tips on how to respectfully negotiate and interact with a dealer.
"It helps keep my face and my dealership on the minds of people," Richardson told Insider.
Dealers are also using TikTok for car walk-arounds, tech showcases, and connecting with buyers through comments and direct messages.
Lockhart Cadillac in Indiana has been using TikTok for almost three years. The account, run by brand manager Jason Fox, has 141,300 followers. It gained traction when the dealership teamed up with Steven Barbosa, who gained fame from a viral Mardi Gras video last year, and who drives a Cadillac.
"You have people within those comments that are asking questions," Fox said. "It's a huge, huge deal for us to respond in a timely manner and then use that to our advantage, whether it's a lead or someone has a question about service or, 'Hey, I'm gonna buy my next car from you.'"
Matthew Eldridge, a product specialist at BMW of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said he uses TikTok to give customers a sneak peak of new cars.
"I highlight a lot of our limited run cars, or brand new models that haven't actually been released yet, or just now got released," Eldridge said.
With so much new busines coming from TikTok, some dealers are worried about a possible ban of the app.
"We would take a serious hit if that happened," Fox said. "There are a lot of leads, there is a lot of gold in those comments."
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