A psychological and sociological question!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

Since you occasionally tackle the psychological and sociological issues related to car ownership, I thought you might like to consider this one. Why do car buyers allow the dealers to affix their dealership name to the car? They wouldn't put the name of their TV, refrigerator, or washing machine on the back of their car, would they? Just yesterday I saw a car that had a metal dealership tag on the trunk lid, a dealership license plate bracket, AND when the third brake light came on, the dealer name was displayed on that!!

RAY: We agree with you, Norm, and we think a little counter-entrepreneurial action is called for here. Before you buy your next car, call a local billboard company and find out how much it costs to rent one of their signs for a month. Then divide that amount by the number of square feet you get. This will give you the monthly value of a local billboard advertisement in square feet.

TOM: Then calculate how much space the dealer's name tag(s) takes up on the back of your car, multiply by the number of miles you drive per year, and voila! That's the advertising rate you're going to charge the dealer to run his ad on the back of your car.

RAY: If he bites, you can start a whole new business. You can organize your friends and neighbors and serve as their automotive-advertising broker. The commissions alone ought to put you in Fat City (I think that's somewhere in Nevada).

TOM: If the dealer won't pay, then do what everyone else does; just ask them not to affix the dealership tags to your car. Dealers will always leave them off if you ask in advance.

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