How Much Does a Car Salesman Make a Year?

Car salesmen show car models to buyers.
Car salesmen show car models to buyers. (Image: car image by Mladenov from

Car salesmen determine the needs of buyers and present the appropriate vehicles to meet those needs. Car salesmen must have good communication skills and knowledge of car models to match the best vehicle with a potential buyer. Salesmen earn commissions on sales of vehicles and earn an average salary of $65,000, as of December 2010, according to Indeed.

Job Duties

A car dealer must spend time with buyers to determine which vehicle best meets their needs. Some of the areas a consumer may be interested in when searching for a new vehicle are cost, seating, gas mileage, durability and attractiveness. A salesperson may take a buyer on a test drive, explain the features of the vehicle and discuss financing for purchasing the car. The salary of a car salesman depends on the vehicle sale.


The geographic location of a car salesman is one factor affecting the salary he may earn. For example, car salesmen in California earn an average salary of $67,000, while those working in Florida earn an average salary of $62,000. The cost of living is 39 percent higher in Los Angeles than it is in Tampa, according to Sperling's. One factor affecting cost of living is housing costs, which are 70 percent more expensive in Los Angeles than Tampa.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in car dealerships will decline by 6 percent between 2008 and 2018. The restructuring of automobile dealerships in the United States is one reason for the decline. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the Internet has eliminated some of the need for car salesmen as consumers search online to become better informed


Car salesmen may advance to the position of an automobile dealership manager. The average salary of a dealership manager is $122,920 according to CBSalary. The position requires sales skills, management training and experience in vehicle retail sales.

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