A young friend in the used car business asked for a car sales story.
At car lots in the Seattle area, salespeople scatter and run for cover when a car with British Columbia plates pulls in. The occupants are always full of questions, will happily soak up your time, and seldom will they actually BUY a vehicle.
Circa 1992, we had a Canadian buy a truck, and traded in a Skoda. Canadians were able to buy imports that were not USA compliant. My dealership put the Skoda on the books for $1, assuming we could wholesale it to a Canadian dealer, or send it to the crusher.
A few days later, a car with B.C. plates pulled in. I was half asleep, the other sales people scattered, and I was stuck with the “up”. Shit! After a few minutes chatting, I decided to see if the Northern ally was greedy, and walked him over to the Skoda. I explained we could only sell the car for export, and the buyer must take it out of the country. I would put it on a trailer and take it to the border. At that point he was on his own. This was his unique opportunity to buy a car for a fraction of the market value in B.C.
In the next four hours, he parted with $3,000 CDN, I loaded the Skoda on our dealership trailer, and we convoyed to Blaine, WA. The Skoda was unloaded, and I watched him drive to the border crossing. I was a very happy individual when I saw him cross the border. Of course, I didn’t stay around to see if he got tossed back.
The next day, the General Sales Manager called me into his office. After I explained the transaction, he gave me the ultimate car lot compliment.
“You kinky mother fucker”!
The deal broke down as follows. $3,000 CDN at .935 $US = $2,805 less $1 acquisition cost less $250 pack (overhead charge) = $2,554 gross profit. At my commission point, 35%, my gross pay for the sale was $893.90. I did spend $20 or so in gas expense getting to the border and back, but still a nice days work.
The happiest person in the whole deal was the Used Car Manager. The Skoda had the potential of being a huge pain in the ass for him. Can you say, “future favors”?