View from the Street: Do Salespeople Understand the Tech They Sell?

An article appeared recently in Automotive News that essentially asked if salespeople know the technology in the cars they are selling. As someone who was recently employed at an auto dealer, I can say that the short answer is all too often no. We’ll go with the long answer here.


Smart Cruise Control Radar Warning IndicatorIn the article, a vehicle being test driven was allowed to hit a stopped vehicle because the car’s salesman was sure that the automatic braking function would bring the vehicle to a stop in time. It could not and did not. Unfamiliarity with the specifics of vehicle functions is a common occurrence. Training for salespeople is generally handled by computer courses, and passing requires only the completion of rather unchallenging tests.

I once listened in as a hybrid technology function was explained, completely wrong. And by the dealership’s owner!

First and foremost the majority of salespeople are just that, salespeople. Their concern, and that of their bosses, runs to the next commission and it is quite likely they know little about what they are selling, and don’t care to know. These are the same people expected to explain the vehicle’s function to the buyer after the sale.

The problem is most prevalent in broad-line dealerships. That is, dealerships that offer stripped down models as well as vehicles with all the bells and whistles. The majority of sales will come from the low-end, and the experience level with new technology suffers. Turnover, cited in the article at 65% for men and 88% for women, contributes to the problems and is highest here as well.

High-line dealerships are not immune, as sales is a numbers game regardless. However, salespeople in these dealerships tend to stay with high-line manufacturers even as turnover occurs and their tech familiarity can be quite high.

Follow Mode IndicatorIn essence the article describes why we chose to create We love new technology and despise how it is presented to the buying public. And this goes well beyond salespeople. New functions are incorporated into cars, new warning lights added, new pages printed in the owner’s manual, and training for owners is little more than what salespeople receive – without the poor testing.

So, while the industry struggles with getting their drivers to understand their products, we’ll continue to do what we can to give those drivers a leg up.


At, we developed two Mobile Apps to help drivers with the most common questions asked of service departments everywhere: “What is this light on my dashboard?” And “My car says ‘Key Not Detected’. How do I get into and start my push-button start car?” With these two apps, we have your back. Check them out here.

Mobile Apps



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